The GAAM Building. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

BETHEL — At their July 6 meeting, selectmen discussed concerns the Airport Authority has about a Maine Energy Systems proposal to buy the Groan and McGurn Building on the Davis Road in Bethel. MESYs has offered to buy the building for $600,000.

Annual payments of $40,000 would be made per month for 15 years and the sale would have zero percent interest.

The Airport Authority said they eventually might have Stantec come and evaluate the building to see if it could potentially be a place to have hangars.

Another reason they have concerns is that if the building were sold, the airport may not have enough land to expand in future, if they wanted to do so.

Founder and CEO of MESYs, Les Otten, said there is an option to purchase the building in the lease contract, which was granted 12 years ago.

A couple potential options were discussed regarding the building, but Otten noted that communication with the Airport Authority was challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If they wanted us to continue as a tenant, since they are getting $43,000 a year rent from the property, then we would want a longer-term lease and would also be interested in getting some help with repairs to the structure,” Otten said. “The other option [is], if we were to buy the building instead of lease, the town would enjoy an increase in tax revenues from the valuation of the property.”

The building has suffered from worsening roof conditions over the years and the parking lot floods, which is partially caused by drainage from the town garage lot, according to Otten.

The lease expires in June 2021.

The decision on whether or not the town sells the property to MESYs would have to be decided by Bethel voters at a town meeting. There is no article on this year’s town warrant about the sale.

Otten said it shouldn’t have to go to a town meeting because the town already approved the sale of the industrial park lots, and one of the lots approved, was the one where the building is located. It was approved before the building was constructed.

Selectman Pete Southam suggested that  the town should consult with its lawyers and figure out all its options. He also said Otten should talk with the Airport Authority.

“It does seem like there’s an option to buy in the lease and it also doesn’t seem like there needs to be a rush to get this to a town meeting,” Southam said.

“We need to get answers first before bringing this to the town,” Selectwoman Lori Swain said.

Selectmen decided to table discussion on the subject until they hear from the town’s lawyer.












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