POLAND – State Sen. John Cleveland (D-Androscoggin) is taking fire from Poland’s board of selectman after he billed the town $12,725 for services estimated to cost about $6,900, according to a report in the Lewiston Sun Journal.
Remarkably, the Sun Journal’s story does not mention that Cleveland is a Democratic elected official.
From the Sun Journal:
Last December, the town’s economic development consultant, John Cleveland of Community Dynamics Corp. of Auburn, estimated it would cost about $6,900 for his firm to separate the financial accounts of the two Poland Spring Bottling Co. Tax Increment Financing districts.
Selectmen told Cleveland to go ahead with the work.
It had to be done because the town wanted to amend the TIF agreements and state Department of Economic and Community Development officials said they wouldn’t consider the amendment until they had a separation of accounts back to 2008.
The board figured Cleveland was the person to do the job because it was in 2008 that he was hired to help the town deal with projects undertaken with TIF funds. That money was being used for water and sewer projects intended to prepare the way for future economic development projects.
The board told Cleveland they wanted a report on the separation of accounts in time for April’s annual town meeting.
Meeting that deadline proved impossible but, absent any interim billing, the board figured the account separation was going forward as planned.
Selectman Walter Gallagher was not pleased with a bill that was about 80 percent over estimate.
“I can understand 10 or maybe 20 percent over, but not this,” Gallagher said, “I’m furious. Taxpayers out there are going to be furious.”
The over-billing flap could prove detrimental to Cleveland’s reelection campaign.
The first-term lawmaker is facing a challenge from Auburn Republican Eric Brakey, 25, who has received endorsements from both Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kty.) and former GOP presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.