April 07, 2020
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Town seeks unclaimed HoltraChem funds

ORRINGTON – Town leaders hope to reclaim a portion of the unpaid personal property taxes for the former HoltraChem site by applying for unused state funds, Town Manager Carl Young said Wednesday.

“We’ve made an application to the state treasurer for some unclaimed HoltraChem funds,” he said.

The unused state funds total $13,250, and the defunct chemical company owes the town $67,418 in back taxes as of Sept. 25, Young said.

The town now owns the riverfront site, which is being cleaned up, because of unpaid property taxes.

The outstanding personal property tax amount is slowly dropping because, “as the equipment is sold, we’re reimbursing” the account, the town manager said.

State Sen. Richard Rosen of Bucksport informed town leaders that the funds were available, Young said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, selectmen completed wording for the application that would “indemnify and hold the state harmless against any claim by HoltraChem, should the state grant the funds” to Orrington, Young said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the board also heard a presentation by Steve Shepard and Ken Beland, from Aquatic Science Association Inc. of Brewer, about the Meadow Dam.

“They both have many, many years of experience with this,” Young said.

The duo is using a $43,500 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant to survey the habitat and water levels of the dam and are preparing to present information to residents later this month to get feedback.

The presentation is 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Center Drive School cafeteria.

The middle dam, known as the Meadow Dam, is located behind Bob’s Kozy Korner and is in serious need of repair. According to engineering reports issued in 2004, approximately $189,000 would be needed to repair the dam.

Town leaders are investigating whether to repair the dam, refurbish it into something that suits the needs and wants of the community, or remove it, Young said.

“It doesn’t serve the needs of the town of Orrington … so we were not anxious to go out and spend $189,000,” he said.

The first priority for the town is flood control and public safety, Young said, adding that maintaining lakeside properties and aquatic life are others.

“Keeping the current dam is not going to satisfy the flood control or the water level,” he said. “We’d much rather have it [the water level] be automatically maintained. We’d rather have something that is more modern.”

Young said a letter to lakeside residents has been sent, and he invited all residents to come to the Oct. 18 meeting to hear the presentation and offer comment on the issue.

Correction: This article ran on page C4 in the State and Coastal editions.

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