Bangor, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- A majority of the Bangor City Council voted to approve an expansion of a transitional housing program at Hope House on Monday night. One councilor however says he's deeply concerned about what the cost will be to taxpayers.
The expansion project will allow Penobscot Community Health Care to create more space for transitional housing connecting two buildings at the Indiana Avenue facility. It would also double the beds from 24 to 48. At the same time however, it would reduce the beds at Hope House which is its homeless shelter.
City Councilor James Gallant voted no to the expansion. He says he sees a disturbing trend in Bangor where the city and it's taxpayers are footing the bill for the rest of the county and the state. Gallant says, "they don't pay taxes, they pay 30% of what taxes would be. So, not only are we not getting the valuation in the taxes paid. We are not getting the valuation in the land lease and they are using more city services, ie- police, fire and ambulances, those types of things."
Mayor Nelson Durgin, who approved the project, disagrees. He says he thinks Hope House provides an important service to the city and helps people become productive members of this community. Durgin says,"The transitional housing is important for people in recovery or homeless because it gives them an opportunity to have a place to live while they get back in the community. We have people living here now that have jobs in the community that are working with the staff here at PCHC to improve themselves and this is successful. "
Mayor Durgin says the planning board will still need to work out some language for transitional housing. Both for this project as well as the entire city.