Penobscot County eyes $34M in bonds

Posted Feb. 02, 2010, at 9:33 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot County commissioners have declared the entire county a “recovery zone.” That makes it eligible for nearly $34 million in bond money under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The county could bond up to $13.5 million in Economic Development Bonds for municipal or county projects and up to $20.3 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds for private projects, according to Penobscot County Administrator Bill Collins.

The bonds offer federal subsidies in the form of a refundable tax credit to be paid to the state or local governmental issuers of a portion of the total interest payable to bond holders, Collins said last month in a letter to municipalities in Penobscot County.

Public projects might include sewer and road upgrades, additions or renovations to municipal buildings or new construction projects, Collins said Tuesday. Private projects that might be considered include the proposed methane gas plant in Brewer.

The commissioners plan to work with the Eastern Maine Development Corp. to determine which projects would be most beneficial, the administrator said. Penobscot County also could work with other counties on a project that has a regional benefit.

The bonds must be issued by Dec. 31.

Maine received $90 million in Economic Development Bond money and $135 million for Recovery Zone Facility bonds. Each county received a portion of that money, with Cumberland County being allocated a total of $65 million, the most of any Maine county. Lincoln County received the least amount, $468,000.

Other northern and eastern Maine counties received the following total for bonds: Washington County, $1.55 million; Waldo County, $3.5 million, Piscataquis County, $1.46 million; Knox County, $2.9 million; Hancock County, $3.74 million; and Aroostook County, $2.14 million.

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