KM - Like many communities in northern Maine, Washburn has struggled to retain residents and businesses. With the passage of LD 1586, An Act to Promote Major Food Processing and Manufacturing Facility Expansion and to Create Jobs in Maine, that could soon be changing. When a food processor began considering Washburn as a potential building location last year, Town Manager Donna Turner took on the task of making that idea a reality.
DT - Back in the fall when I contacted Troy, that was kind of just a total shot in the dark - complete shot in the dark. I just was thinking there's got to be some other way to, you know, help this along, find some kind of funding or whatever.
KM - Senate President Troy Jackson had worked on a similar bill before that aided in the creation of food processing jobs in southern Maine. That's why Turner reached out to Jackson, hoping he could do likewise here in The County.
DT - I gave him the contact information for everybody and he left with all of that and wrote this bill to suit this project up here and he made it happen. So it's - I could not be happier.
KM - Jackson plans to meet with officials from Penobscot-McCrum to discuss their potential plans for a food processing facility on the Parsons Road in Washburn.
TJ - McCrums are coming down early next week so I can talk to them face to face now since it's officially been passed. In our conversations, 5,000 more acres of potatoes being planted per year, you know, 95 percent of those potatoes, by statute, have to come from Maine.
KM - Under the bill, a business would be required to pay at least 75 percent of its employees a salary that exceeds the income threshold for the county in which they plan to build. A business would also be required to add a total of 40 new full-time employees by the end of the first year of qualifying for the tax credit.
DT - The spinoff from it , you know, is gonna be I think bigger than anybody's realizing. You know, families moving in, just many things it's going to be good for this county.
KM - What happens next will be determined after Jackson's meeting next week with the McCrums. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8