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Kathy Gagnon

Now Let's Move Forward With Economic Development
By Kathy Gagnon
Nov 9, 2006 - 3:39:00 PM

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When I cast my vote against additional funding for Millinocket Area Growth & Investment Council (MAGIC), I felt it was my opportunity as a taxpayer to have my voice heard by the town council. I hope, with the majority of citizens voting no, the town council will accept and listen to what the voters are telling them. The citizens of Millinocket do not have the confidence in MAGIC to support additional funding being given to them.

The conflict that has divided the town from having a MAGIC presence heavily involved in our town government has proven to me that politics and economic development donít necessarily mix well. It has caused continuous conflict on our council and within our community, and has not shown this town the positive results that many of us had hoped for. Maybe it is time to try something different. I understand that economic development takes time and does not happen overnight. But, I also believe that if something is not working, it is a good indication that changes need to be made.

Though MAGIC ended up later returning it, previously the town council voted to give them $50,000 to invest in repairs to the BRIC building, which the town does not own.

With this in mind, I have to wonder why this same town council would not be willing to invest this amount in the town of Millinocket, itself, for economic development. Other towns have spent less and have seen far more economic development than Millinocket has seen for all that they have funded to date.

I would like to see citizens who are looking for business development and growth in our town to form a Citizenís Committee. We have tried working with MAGIC and working with the committees led by the town council, but they all have resulted in meeting after meeting that went nowhere. Maybe it is time for the citizens to form their own committee, independent from the town council, to discuss ideas and move forward with a plan. I believe a committee like this comprised of local citizens willing to volunteer their time and efforts could produce results. We have many retired residents with a vast and varied amount of knowledge and experience that could perhaps be tapped into for this. We have ambitious citizens with the drive to make things happen. These citizens, together with the Town Manager, and possibly a professional economic development consultant, could successfully rebuild this town.

A window of opportunity has opened for the citizens of Millinocket, do we want to seize that opportunity or close our eyes to it?

Letís unite to bring businesses and jobs to Millinocket so that our families and friends can have something to return home for.


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