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No MRRA board members for Brunswick, Topsham after bill dies

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No MRRA board members for Brunswick, Topsham after bill dies

BRUNSWICK — A bill that would have given Brunswick and Topsham direct representation for redevelopment efforts at Brunswick Landing died Monday after opposing votes between the two chambers of the state Legislature.

LD 1476, or "An Act To Protect Local Input in Economic Development and Redevelopment Efforts," would have given each town a new, direct appointment on the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority's Board of Trustees, expanding the board by two members.

MRRA is the state-appointed authority in charge of development at Brunswick Landing, Brunswick Executive Airport and Topsham Commerce Park.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Matthea Daughtry, D-Brunswick, won an ought-to-pass vote in the House, 88-55, on May 29, despite being voted down in the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development committee.

"Giving Brunswick and Topsham two direct appointees would fit perfectly within the Department of Defense's guidelines," Daughtry had said in public testimony. "We need to make sure that community leaders have a seat on the MRRA board."

On May 30, the bill failed in the Senate by a 30-5 ought-not-to-pass vote, and was killed after both chambers insisted on their opposing votes.

Daughtry said while the House had a "great debate" on the bill's merits, there was no discussion preceding the Senate's vote. She said she plans on tweaking the bill – including a passage that would prohibit town managers from being reappointed – for reintroduction in the next Legislature.

The bill's public hearing during the previous week had brought a strong favorable response from business developers, citizens and current and former town officials. Only state Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, and an official from the state Department of Economic and Community Development spoke against the bill.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.