Reading Nick Sambides Jr.'s article in the August 9-10/08 editiion of the BDN I am absolutely amazed by the "estimates" supposedly coming from Matt Polstein.
Unless I need a new eyeglass prescription, I am reading that Polstein is estimating "at least 60,000 visitor days in the Katahdin region, meaning that 17,000 tourists would visit his resort for about three and a half days each".
I just love these "estimates." Unfortunately, too many of those who read them interpret them as being fact rather than what they really are - "estimates."
For example, let me reference the Downeast Heritage Museum in Calais. A BDN article quoted the cost of that fiasco at $6.6M.
Because its opening coincided with the St. Croix Island (Canada) celebration, it was "estimated" that 80,000 would attend the opening and that 400,000 people would come to the area over that particular summer. The actuality was that opening day saw approximtely 450 people in attendance. So much for the "estimated" 80,000, and they never experienced the large influx of people they had anticipated. Need I say more.
Even after Governor Baldacci's infusion of approximately $300,000 in emergency funds - your tax dollars at work - the museum is now looking for a miracle in the guise of a guardian angel or it will have to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
I mention this as an example of just how accurately the estimates approximate the reality.
Mr. Polstein can "estimate" all he wants but he has nothing to base them on. He also "estimates" that his project will create at least a hundred full-time jobs. That gets even more complicated, because again, it is only an estimate and because there is no information as to any pay scale or benefit packages that might come with these jobs.
Although he tells you that he is planning a $65M resort, does he tell you of all the tax breaks he has lined up. Let's see: he wants the airport runway expanded, at our expense, to accomodate small jets for his clientele; he would like to have a shuttle bus or taxi at the airport, supplied by our town, to transport his clientele; he wants the Maine Department of Transportation to upgrade Route #157 leading to his resort; and he wants a non-profit organization (MAGIC) that he founded to succeed with its application for a radio station/tower so that he can establish cellular phone service for his clientele. All of this will be paid for with your tax dollars.
Then there are the Pine Tree Zone benefits, for which we can almost be assured he will qualify, especially since Governor Baldacci has included arts and tourism into the mix. That will allow him a 100% sales tax exemption for all building materials and for all tangible property. It will also allow him to include a 100% state corprate income tax credit for the first five years, followed by a 50% credit for years six through ten. Other benefits include Employment Tax Increment Financing equal to 80% of net new employees' state income tax withholdings for ten years. Remember - all of this will be paid for with your tax dollars.
As Sambides' article states, "he (Polstein) has gone from a majority to a minority council member". Could that be because of his (to quote Sambides) "pro-environmental, pro-tourism stances and his occasional hardball political tactics and scathing broadsides on his political opponents".
According to Sambides, Jr., Polstein has admitted to his frustration at being in the minority and might that not be the crux of his choosing not to run again. Too bad Polstein doesn't realize that many other councilors faced the same frustrations when HE was in control.
Polstein's parting shot is an indication of just what he thinks of our town. "My entrepreneurial spirit can be better applied to my business than to the government of this town.
That, to me, is a put down if I ever heard one and I for one will not miss his antagonistic attitude on the council.
Polstein, with all his knowledge and intelligence could have been a huge benefit to our town, but instead he chose to benefit himself and, all too often, at our expense.