The Federal Aviation Administration and the state of Maine will contribute to the cost of a new building to house snow and other equipment used at Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport. The remainder of the cost of the building is expected to come from revenue generated by a 50-megawatt solar project planned for the airport by NextEra Energy.
The FAA will contribute $850,000 to the project; the state about $50,000, Airport Manager Alison Rogers told the City Council on Tuesday.
The city would bond the entire $3.17 million project and immediately pay down nearly one-third of the bond using the combined $900,000 from the FAA and the state, leaving a $2.2 million balance.
Voters will cast ballots on the measure at a June 12 referendum.
Currently, $1.2 million worth of the airport’s rolling stock equipment sits outside, Rogers told the council. A maintenance shed is an old steel building that has room for just one piece of equipment, she said. The city rents space for Rogers, its manager, from a business on the airport.
The construction project includes a 7,262 square-foot-building consisting of two large bays to house snow removal equipment, one heated sand storage bay for airfield grade sand, one repair bay, an office, meeting and administration space and a storage mezzanine.
The City Council awarded the bid for the project to the Sanford firm TPD Construction Co., with just an initial phase in play now — the award allows the company to begin the design work on the project, said Mayor Thomas Cote. If the bond is not approved June 12, then the project won’t move forward, he said.
Cote said the $2.2 million balance would come from revenues generated by the planned airport solar project — NextEra Energy has been in the process of obtaining state permits. Once state and city permits are in hand, installation of the estimated 200,000 solar panels is set to begin, likely later this year.
In order to repay the balance of the bond, the city would create a Tax Increment Financing district around the NextEra project.
Cost of the airport project is estimated at $69 million, NextEra officials said at a November presentation. City officials say the solar project will generate about $1.3 million annually in taxes and more — when the project is operational, land lease payments will enable the airport to become financially self-sufficient.
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