BIDDEFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After years of complaints about odor and air quality, city councilors made the final decision to close MERC.
The council received a standing ovation from the small crowd that came out to watch the vote. The city will buy the plant for 6.6 million dollars, and it loses hundreds of thousands in property taxes once the plant closes. If no one develops the site, the average homeowner will see a $1600 increase in their property taxes over the next 20 years. The city council vote was not unanimous. Councilor Melissa Bednarowski says her "no" vote reflects the overwhelming response she got from her constituents, many of whom are MERC employees.
They're working jobs that are not easy jobs but they're really well paying jobs and at this point to find a replacement is going to be near to impossible. If Maine Energy had sold to another manufacturing company of some sort they may have been able to retain their jobs.
I think within 6 months or so we're going to see a whole new influx of people wanting to move to town and to open up business. (Holly Culloton/OWNER, LACAVA)
Mayor Casavant says he has already heard from businesses that are interested in developing in Biddeford and Saco. He says they were waiting until the vote to make their decisions.