HOULTON, Maine — Town councilors approved a lease with a new pellet manufacturing business on Tuesday evening that could bring up to 40 new jobs to the area.
Councilors voted 5-0 in favor of the lease, which was negotiated between the town and Aroostook Renewable Energy, a group of partners doing business as Aroostook Pellets.
The businessmen from the Bangor area will pay $240 a month to lease a parcel of land at the Houlton International Airport Industrial Park, where they plan to construct a building.
Town Manager Douglas Hazlett told councilors the group has not started building, but has secured the majority of the financing needed for the project.
Some residents attending the meeting had questions about the project, asking for background on the company and expressing a desire to see the business come to fruition. Hazlett assured them the town was optimistic the business would be constructed and would open. Once operational, it could bring up to 40 new jobs to the area, he said.
Hazlett said the business could not buy the land because the town and the Federal Aviation Administration own it, thus it can be leased but not sold.
The town also has taken steps to assure the project will come to fruition.
If the business does not construct the facility in a year or if the financing falls through, the town can terminate the lease. The town also reserved the right to terminate the lease at any time with 90 days’ notice.
Council Chairman Paul Cleary was enthusiastic about the project, classifying it as a major win for the municipality.
“This could possibly create up to 40 jobs,” he said, adding that it also would establish a new business in town.
A company profile indicates that Andrew Durkovich is the primary contact for the business, but he could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon regarding when construction might begin.