GOULDSBORO — The president of Live Lobster Co. Inc. of Chelsea, Mass., says he will buy the former Bumble Bee sardine cannery despite a decision by selectmen not to apply for a $400,000 federal grant to help him out.
Antonio Bussone said he will proceed with plans to sell frozen, processed lobster, but that it will take longer to get the business off the ground without the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
“I’m disappointed, but I don’t let a stumbling block change my direction,” Bussone said following the public hearing and selectmen’s vote Sept. 20 at the Gouldsboro Community Center.
The selectmen opted 3-0 not to apply for the grant by the deadline of 4 p.m. Sept. 24. However, they had a meeting tentatively scheduled Sept. 22 in the event Bussone provided the information for which they asked.
That information included a month-to-month profit and loss statement and a detailed business plan.
Town Manager Eve Wilkinson said Sept. 22 that she had not yet received the documents as of early that morning, but that Bussone and Chief Financial Officer Thad Reece e-mailed her that they were working on it overnight.
Bussone said at the public hearing that the closing with Bumble Bee scheduled for October likely will be postponed until November while additional details are sorted out.
Selectman Dana Rice abstained from the vote, as he has all along, because of his conflict of interest as a lobster broker.
Selectman Susan Bagley also abstained.
“I kind of wanted it to go through tonight,” Bagley said. “At some point we’re going to have to take a chance to get these people back to work.”
Bumble Bee shut the sardine cannery down in mid-April, leaving 128 employees without jobs. The plant is on the shore in the village of Prospect Harbor.