ELLSWORTH — The Jackson Lab gave its annual report to city councilors on Aug. 16, but unlike past years the figures, data and anecdotes were under a pandemic shadow. Still, the news that Chief Operating Officer Katy Longley and Michael McKernan, director of governance and community relations for Maine, related was positive for the city.
The Jackson Lab contributed to the COVID-19 effort locally, nationally and globally.
“It was kind of like the war effort,” Longley said. No lab employees were laid off or furloughed during the pandemic, she noted.
The Ellsworth mouse facility at Kingsland Crossing completed Phase 2 of its construction in 2020, adding its 100th employee as it doubled its capacity for mouse production. Longley said the hiring rate was ahead of schedule, with 370 employees planned for the mouse facility 10 years after its 2018 opening.
In pure numbers, The Jackson Lab employs 315 people from Ellsworth, 313 from Bar Harbor and 522 more throughout Hancock County for $146 million in pay and benefits.
In fiscal year 2020, Lab employees paid $678,988 in Ellsworth property taxes, while the Lab used the goods and services of 112 Hancock County vendors. The Lab paid $224,591 for water and sewer use and voluntarily contributed $51,500 to the city. For 2021, the Lab plans to up that amount to $53,045.
The Lab is a nonprofit organization and so pays no property tax to Ellsworth or Bar Harbor. However, McKernan noted the $25 million in state and local taxes and fees the Lab contributed in 2020.
Jackson Lab also partners with Hancock County Technical Center in its biomedical research support program, providing lab training, the opportunity for original research and to participate in the Maine State Science Fair. And, new for 2021, the Lab is providing its employees with two days of paid volunteer service.