AUGUSTA, Maine — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has certified that nearly 61 percent of voters in last week’s statewide bond referendum approved the borrowing plan.
It has been apparent since last week that the few voters who went to the polls endorsed the bond question, but the results weren’t official until Dunlap’s announcement and Gov. Paul LePage’s signing of the vote proclamation Wednesday morning.
The $50 million bond targets economic development, with $45 million earmarked for infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades across industry sectors including biotechnology, aquaculture and marine technology, forestry, agriculture, information technology, precision manufacturing and composites.
The funding, which will be disbursed as competitive grants, will be administered by the Maine Technology Institute and will be matched with federal or other funds.
The remaining $5 million will be granted to small businesses in an effort to grow and benefit the state’s economy. That money will be administered by the Finance Authority of Maine through the Small Enterprise Growth Fund.
These competitive grants are earmarked for businesses of 50 or fewer employees that have $5 million or less in gross sales over the past 12 months and which focus on one of the following: marine sciences, biotechnology, manufacturing, export of goods or services out of state, software development, environmental services, financial or insurance products, and value-added goods from natural resources.
The estimated cost of borrowing the money is more than $13.7 million in interest, assuming the bond is paid off within 10 years.
According to Dunlap, the vote was 63,468 to 39,549 with 104,213 votes cast. There were nearly 1,200 blank ballots.