More than a half-dozen town administrators who are in line to receive a share of a $3.5 million downtown development grant are seeking an audience with Gov. Paul LePage to discuss his decision to freeze state borrowing.

The revitalization grants were awarded to 11 towns by the Communities for Maine’s Future Program, which were included in a bond package authorized by voters in 2010. LePage announced this summer that he would not initiate the borrowing until at least January 2014. That has created a problem for several towns that have entered development contracts, and in some cases, have had to halt projects already underway.

That’s the case in Skowhegan where the town has a signed contract with an engineering firm and has already spent $23,000 on a $400,000 project to revamp the Somerset Grist Mill.

The freezing of the Skowhegan project has kicked off a dispute between LePage and Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan.

McCabe has questioned why LePage has stepped forward to assist a project in Livermore Falls, but not Skowhegan.

LePage has not issued state funds for the Livermore Falls development, known as the Lamb Project. However, the governor provided the developer, Kevin Bunker, of Developers Collaborative, with written assurance that $400,000 in state funds would flow before June 15, 2015. The administration says the promissory note allowed Bunker to access $400,000 in gap financing from the Maine Rural Development Authority.

The governor’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, told Maine Today Media that Bunker was facing a “critical deadline” and would have lost an anchor tenant without the state’s assistance.

McCabe, in a written statement, said other projects also face challenges. He questioned why the governor helped some towns and not others.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” said McCabe. “The governor is willing to help Livermore Falls but he’s leaving the rest of us in the dark. All I want to know is how Livermore Falls got help and what we need to do to get the same support.”

Bunker is the same developer behind the Gilman Street project in Waterville. LePage supported the project when he was mayor of the city and he attended the ribbon-cutting as governor last year.

Bunker and his company, Deep Cove LLC, contributed a total of $500 to LePage during his gubernatorial run.

Bunker’s Gilman Street project last year also came under scrutiny by LePage ally, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin. Poliquin criticized the cost of the project during his highly publicized effort to oust Maine State Housing Authority Dale McCormick.

Bunker later called Poliquin’s critique “inaccurate rhetoric” that threw his project “under the bus.”

Livermore Falls isn’t the only town waiting for a slice of the $3.5 million bond to receive state assistance.

Doug Ray, a spokesman for the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said that the state had recently issued Community Development Block Grants for projects in Monmouth ($157,641), Eastport ($190,000) and Dover-Foxcroft ($140,000).

Bennett said the administration awarded the grants based on an evaluation of each project’s estimated “return on investment.” It’s unclear how the administration is quantifying that standard or if other projects are falling short of it.

Bennett said politics were not a consideration in the administration’s decision to assist some towns and not others.

Ray said DECD is in contact with all the affected communities.

“As far as solutions go, those will have to be done on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Bennett, meanwhile, said DECD, and not LePage, will likely participate in the meeting requested by several town administrators.

The 11 grant recipients are Bath, Belfast, Dover-Foxcroft, Eastport, Livermore Falls, Monmouth, Norway, Rockland, Skowhegan, Unity and Winthrop.

Geoff Herman, with the Maine Municipal Association, said some of the communities are open to seeking a bond anticipation note to receive gap financing. However, he said, the current situation complicates towns’ ability to receive gap financing because they don’t control issuance of the bonds and the state does.

“Banks and bond houses may need something firm (from the state),” Herman said.

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