Portland Mayor proposes new requirements for tax breaks

Mayor Strimling changing requirements for Immucell.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The CEO of a Portland-based Bio-Tech firm says a last minute wrench has been thrown into his plans for expansion here.

The city’s mayor is proposing new requirements for a tax break the company is receiving, after city leaders already negotiated the deal.

Immucell CEO Michael Brigham is hoping to take his company to the next level by producing a new product, at a new facility, right behind the company’s headquarters in Portland. The company makes product to improve the health of dairy and beef cows. He was just about ready to break ground on the expansion when he learned of new requirements being proposed by the mayor for the tax break the city is giving.

Mayor Ethan Strimling wants the contractor hired by Immucell to be required to include workers from Portland, ethnic minorities, LGBT, and economically disadvantaged. He also wants the wages to meet or exceed the department of Labor’s prevailing wages, and for the contractor to offer an apprenticeship program.

“Make sure this company, if we’re going to give them $400,000, hire local workers, pay a prevailing wage, train the next generation”, Strimling said.  

Immucell’s CEO says that not practical and it’s unfair this late in the game.   

“Hard to achieve, especially hard to achieve given the fact that we’ve already been to bid with contractors under the rules that were in place when we went to bid”, said Brigham  

David Brennerman is one of the city councilors who negotiated the deal under the city’s current rules for TIF’s. He says it’s too late in the process to change the rules now.

“It’s unfair to the company and I think down the road it affects the credibility of the city”, he said.

A public hearing on the matter was scheduled for Wednesday. A vote has been put off for two weeks.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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