AUGUSTA — The Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee voted 6-3 on Tuesday to pass a bill sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, requiring the construction of a facility in Fort Kent to house the district headquarters for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
The amended version of the bill — LD 1016, “Resolve, To Require the Construction of a New District Headquarters Building for the Bureau of Forestry in Fort Kent” — would provide funding of $350,000 to build the new facility.
“Consolidating offices of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and building a new facility in Fort Kent just makes sense,” said President Jackson. “This move will provide a long-term advantage to Maine taxpayers while providing a better central location in the area. I want to thank the committee for moving this bill along.”
According to the testimony provided to the committee by William Greaves, the Regional Forest Ranger in Ashland, the idea of moving headquarter locations has been explored over the past several years. The sale of two other facilities — in Daaquam and St. Agatha — were done in preparation for a move to Fort Kent.
“This [bill] represents one step in a facility consolidation project which began many years ago,” said Greaves. “This project is designed to reduce our facility footprint and provide a more effective service to our customers while creating a long-term savings to the taxpayers.”
Other proponents of the bill who spoke at the public hearing include Arthur Carroll and Dana Saucier, both of Eagle Lake.
The bill will go before the full Legislature in the coming weeks. If the measure is enacted in the House and Senate, it will go to the Appropriations Committee where it will need to be funded.