Limestone claims Loring Development Authority owes $1.2M in public safety bills

11 months ago

LIMESTONE, Maine — Limestone officials could cut off the former Loring Air Force base from fire protection services if Loring’s governing body does not pay more than $1 million to the town.

The Loring Development Authority has allegedly racked up a bill of $1.2 million over the last eight years for fire and police protection on the Loring Commerce Centre. The town has provided those services for most of Loring Development Authority’s history, said Select Board Chairperson Randy Brooker.

Loring Development Authority was established by the state on the former federal Loring Air Force Base. It is not under the town of Limestone’s jurisdiction, so it contracts with the town for some services.

Members of the Select Board had expressed their frustrations with the Loring Development Authority’s alleged lack of payment earlier this year. They have since reached out to the Authority’s board of directors, who were unaware of the supposedly unpaid bills, Brooker said.

Brooker said Thursday that the Select Board met in executive session with Grace O’Neal, Limestone’s representative on the Loring Development Authority board, to inform her of the situation. 

Efforts to reach O’Neal for comment were unsuccessful.

If Loring does not pay up within 30 days, Brooker said, the town can legally cut off fire protection services. Limestone disbanded its police department last spring but those services are still included in the bill that Town Manager Alvin Lam sent to Loring last week. 

Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and Maine State Police started covering Loring Commerce Centre on July 1, Brooker said.

Limestone’s Select Board will meet with several members of the Loring Development Authority board of directors in an executive session at 6:30 p.m. at the town office Tuesday, Aug. 8. 

Loring Development Authority President and CEO Carl Flora said that Loring paid the town $20,000 per year for police coverage until Limestone disbanded that department. But Loring has never had an agreement with the town to pay any amount for fire services, Flora said.

Flora said he was first made aware of the allegations for unpaid bills when Town Manager Alvin Lam emailed him less than two weeks ago.

“We were never invoiced [for fire services] eight years ago, nor did we refuse to pay any amount,” Flora said.

Flora said he is taking part in negotiations with the town to resolve this issue.
The Loring Development Authority was established in 1993 by the Maine Legislature to oversee redevelopment of the former Air Force base after its closure. State law defines the Authority as a public municipal corporation. Its board includes 13 members appointed by the governor, seven of which must be from Aroostook County.