Hartland ‘fairly close’ to solving financial crisis

Posted June 02, 2009, at 9:12 p.m.

HARTLAND, Maine — Town Manager Larry Post said Tuesday that a solution to the town’s crushing debt could come as early as the end of the week.

“We are getting fairly close,” Post said. “We should have good news later this week.”

In April, Post, local legislators and town selectmen met with Gov. John Baldacci and representatives of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Hartland is seeking a state guarantee for a bank loan that has tentative approval. The town is nearly $900,000 in debt, and there is legal action pending by SAD 48 for unpaid school assessments.

Officials have blamed the debt on former Town Manager Peggy Morgan’s failure to raise enough revenue to cover expenses over the past several years. Post said the town is attempting to borrow $1.5 million to pay off the debt and school assessments. The loan would be paid back over a 10-year period but needs a state guarantee.

After the meeting with state officials, Post said he was optimistic.

“It went very well,” he said Monday afternoon. “It was a very productive meeting.”

Post would not provide details of the state’s backing, but said several options were being reviewed.

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