2016-07-28 / Letters

Biddeford resident’s group refines purpose

To the editor:

I begin by saying the Concerned Citizens of Biddeford is a bi-partisan group of professional people who have absolutely nothing personally to gain belonging to this organization. In fact, I commend the members as we are well aware we have made ourselves targets for those who oppose our actions.

Our goal is to find answers to questions that the administration is reluctant to share, and then pass it on to the taxpayers of Biddeford. We are currently working on several topics but let us take this opportunity to discuss the economic issues here in Biddeford. We have industrial parks that are becoming eye-sores, with deteriorated roads while vacancies increase as businesses leave. This is where the true employment opportunities and tax base exist. This is a major concern for Concerned Citizens of Biddeford and we believe it is being overlooked by the administration. And why?

Everything you hear about economic development from our powers to be is centered on their crown jewel, Main Street. They have done everything possible to stay focused on their dream of a new downtown. These are the same people who fought us on the racino and The Shops at Biddeford Crossing. There is a store ready for business across the street from CrossRoads in the new strip mall that is ready to open but cannot because the traffic signal has not been reprogramed. If that was located on Main Street, oh yes, that would be a priority.

A disturbing pattern we have observed is a handful of people buying properties on Main Street at depressed prices, only to turn to the city and ask for financial help to sure up their return on investment. We believe if you need taxpayer dollars to run your business, you in fact are not a viable business. Even more disturbing is the financial help for these small businesses is for entities located downtown and nowhere else. We believe that is discriminatory as Biddeford is a large town with many businesses located throughout the city. Without the heart, the rest of the body does not exist. Which brings us to our next point.

The Heart of Biddeford was created to help and promote businesses in the downtown. Taxpayer dollars are funding the entity all while a hand of selected businesses is receiving the bulk of the money. Some of the recipients actually were councilors and/or organizers of HOB. We believe the city should stay out of picking business winners or losers as these same businesses have competition outside of downtown that have to be self-reliant and use their own resources.

We at Concerned Citizens of Biddeford may have some of our facts wrong, certainly not by design. We filed dozens of Freedom of Access Act Requests, only to be denied. Therefore we offer this challenge to HOB: Please supply the taxpayers of Biddeford a detailed accounting from the time your organization was founded. Included should be all funds received by HOB from any and all sources albeit taxpayer dollars, grants, gifts, etc. We would also ask a detailed accounting and description of all recipients of HOB dollars including but not limited to persons, non-profits and any and all business entities. We believe taxpayer dollars were misappropriated and will continue to believe so until proven wrong.

Craig Cantara and Howard Hanson Biddeford

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