SIDNEY — The Board of Selectmen declined a request from the town of Rome to send a communication to the board of the Kennebec Regional Development Authority asking for financial forecasts and a legal analysis of how to exit the development authority

Sidney is one of 24 towns that agreed to invest in the FirstPark business park in Oakland, the centerpiece of KRDA’s development effort. The park was expected to draw businesses, create jobs and earn revenue for the towns that invested in it.

However, since its inception in 1999, the development has disappointed some member communities that see returns that are far less than their annual investment in the park. To date, member towns have lost millions on their investment. There has been no sizable development in the 285-acre park since 2006 and most of the 25 available building lots are empty.

The Rome Board of Selectmen sent a request to KRDA for future financial scenarios, a net present value of the organization and an “explicit” legal analysis of what it would take to get out of its agreement with the organization.

In a separate letter, the Rome selectmen encouraged 10 other communities, including Sidney, to send similar requests to the KRDA board.

“We believe that each town should have more definite answers with long-term forecasts. Each town should have a concrete understanding of what the expectations are for the organization’s sales and development,” the Rome Selectmen wrote.

“In a time when every city and town struggles with budgeting and finances, it is imperative that we call for accountability with our business partners,” the selectmen said in the letter.

But Selectmen in Sidney said at their meeting Monday evening that they did not intend to follow Rome’s example and write their own letter to the KRDA board.

Board Chairman John Whitcomb said that while the town as a whole may be disappointed with the performance of FirstPark, the selectmen would not take that step, but would appreciate it if Rome shared the information it receives. The letter will be copied to the KRDA board, he said.

“We asked them to provide any information they get,” Whitcomb said. “We’re not going to ask for it ourselves.”

In a draft response to the Rome selectmen, the Sidney board notes that residents have “continued to express overwhelming disapproval with the financial burden of taxpayers for FirstPark/KRDA.”

Selectmen Tim Russell added that there was “no sense” in Sidney asking for the same information that Rome is requesting.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

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