By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - Town officials learned Thursday that an Arizona developer has shifted gears and is back negotiating with Waterville officials for the purchase of the former C.F. Hathaway Co. building. Michael Peloquin had said publicly that he planned to buy a former Dexter Shoe Co. building and move the Hathaway shirt-making equipment to Dexter when negotiations fell through earlier with city officials.
Peloquin's representatives met with Dexter town officials and visited vacant buildings in the community but has since decided to reopen negotiations with Waterville officials, according to Dexter Town Manager Robert Simpson.
Simpson said efforts are under way to bring industry to the town. He also is working to ensure that the federal government fulfills it verbal commitment to fund an Economic Development Administration grant. When Dexter Shoe closed its manufacturing operations, federal officials assured the town that it would receive a $150,000 grant to help its economic development efforts. Those funds have since been reduced to $50,000 but are still "bogged" down in Washington. He told the Town Council on Thursday that the funds would help reimburse the town for the $14,000 spent on an engineering study conducted on one of the vacant Dexter Shoe Co. buildings.
Until then, Simpson has recommended that the town move $13,500 from the general fund to cover the engineering study costs. The council will act on that request next month, as well as other overdrafts.
Simpson also alerted the council of a proposed bill that would shift more road improvement costs to rural communities.
LD 1392, which the Legislative Transportation Committee recently voted ought not to pass, would have reduced the rate of contribution from urban communities for road construction projects by spreading the costs to all communities with state arterial and major collector roads. Maine's larger communities contribute up to 15 percent of the cost of state collector road construction projects.
The transportation committee, instead, is recommending that the Department of Transportation work with the Service Center Coalition and the Maine Municipal Association to require a local match of up to 7.5 percent on major roads with posted speed limits of 35 mph. If this occurs, the town would be responsible for 7.5 percent of the project costs of any road construction on Spring Street, a portion of Church Street and parts of Main Street and Ripley Road, he said.
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