Doing Business in Houlton

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Houlton Tax OfficeTax Incentives

The Town of Houlton believes in being an active participant in the future health and success of its business residents. Incentives at both the local and state level are aggressively utilized to encourage future development.

Tax Incremental Financing: The town has an aggressive posture on Tax Incentive Financing districts. Businesses investing in these districts can qualify for town approved property tax credits on the value of their new investment through the use of a Credit Enhancement Agreement.

  • The taxable value of new plant and equipment can be deferred for a defined period to help in defraying investment costs.
  • The specific business location can be defined as a Tax Incentive Finance zone to capture future investments for tax relief as well.
TIF Maps

State Pine Tree Zones  enable qualifying businesses to enjoy substantial savings on state payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, and sales taxes.

  • 80% refund of state income taxes.
  • 100% refund of corporate income tax 1st 5 years; 50% 2nd 5 years.
  • 100% sales and use tax exemption of construction materials & equipment purchases.

Energy Costs

Water, sewer, and electricity are all supplied to the Town of Houlton by the Houlton Water Company (HWC), a consumer owned utility. Funded by the Town of Houlton, but chartered to best serve its customers, the HWC has been very successful in delivering high quality electric service at one of the lowest rates in New England. Its current rates are shown in the table below.

Connecticut $0.164
Massachusetts $0.154
New Hampshire $0.145
Rhode Island $0.128
Vermont $0.134
Maine $0.121
Houlton Water Company $0.100
New England $0.141
Note: HWC Transmission & Distribution Rate is $0.032 for residential and $0.021 for commercial.

**Information taken from the Maine Public Utilities website.

While the future cost for electricity is an issue countrywide, Houlton is taking steps to help address the volatility of electric rates. As a consumer owned electric company, HWC is not driven by investor profit expectations. Their delivery charge will remain competitive. However, HWC is fortunate to be located in a part of the county that abounds in a natural resource ideal for bio-mass co-generation … wood, wood bi-products, and farming bi-products. Research is currently underway to determine the feasibility of bringing a bio-mass co-generation facility on-line.

An attractive bi-product of bio-mass generation is steam. This thermal energy can be used by industrial facilities located in proximity to the generation plant for cooling, heating, and other industrial uses.


Houlton TransportationTransportation

Strategically located one mile from the Canadian border, and at the beginning of Interstate 95, the Town of Houlton, with a population of 6,200 is a vibrant community with a long history of industrious, hard working residents.

Its location as one of the fastest growing border crossings in the east means that Houlton is well positioned to serve cross border needs.

Halifax is just over a six hour drive from Houlton, and Boston just over seven. In fact, within a 10 hour drive of Houlton you can access almost 40% of the U.S. population and over 60% of the Canadian population.

The Houlton Port of Entry is destined to become one of the busiest and well served in the nation.

The Canadian portion of Interstate 95 has been twinned from Woodstock, N.B. to the Houlton Port of Entry. This four-lane highway has greatly improved access to and from the United States and Canada.

Efforts currently underway at the U. S. border facility are designed to greatly expedite commercial border traffic: • Truck inspection stations are being re-engineered to eliminate bottlenecks and facilitate rapid inspection. • The Houlton Port of Entry is slated to become the first “FAST” lane entry site in Maine, allowing pre-registered carriers to speed through the clearance process.


Houlton WorkforceWorkforce

Over 20,000 people reside within commuting distance of Houlton, with Presque Isle, Caribou, and Millinocket all within easy driving distance.

In the past, in spite of very tight labor markets in metropolitan areas, many rural areas of Maine have had unemployment rates higher than the national average.  These pockets of available labor, as well as the population of underemployed workers,  provided a unique opportunity for companies struggling to find a productive workforce. As the national economy turns around, this scenario is expected to once again become an issue, making relocation/expansion into Southern Aroostook County a viable alternative.

Additionally, the superior “Yankee” work ethic is world-renowned. This translates into high productivity, employee loyalty, and low absenteeism. Companies like Smith & Wesson, Louisiana-Pacific, and Tate & Lyle North America  clearly recognize the importance of Maine employees. Although small communities have fewer people than metro areas, the upside is that there is less competition for labor.

Employee loyalty stems from the fact that many Maine citizens have lived in their communities for generations and, as such, tend to prefer to work for a local employer. The net result is loyalty, loyalty, loyalty!


Houlton TechnologyTechnology

“You can get there from here, and fast!” During the pre-industrial age, Maine’s Yankee clippers led the way with transportation speed. Now, once again, Maine has its sights set on leading the new means of transportation telecommunications. The state is currently wired with more than 110,000 miles of fiber optics and Verizon has deployed SONET ring technology throughout the state, including Aroostook County. SONET rings provide redundancy in the event of a phone line interruption. In addition, Verizon has installed a high bandwidth ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) network throughout the state, enabling users to simultaneously transfer voice, data, and video at very high speeds. Maine’s telecommunication backbone is 100% digitally switched and long distance POP (Point-Of-Presence) locations are strategically located throughout the state. Our high speed wireless service, DSL, and broadband capabilities are capable of being backed-up by both US and Canadian alternate routes, providing excellent redundancy.

Maine was one of the first states to connect every school and library to the internet, demonstrating a leadership commitment to the information age. Maine’s geographical location has been a disadvantage to some companies in the past. But, Maine’s position as a telecommunication’s leader enables access to the world from anywhere in Maine. This infrastructure is yet another reason why expanding businesses should consider southern Aroostook County for new locations.

Broadband Internet Service Providers

Houlton AffordableAffordable

Relocation to Houlton may be more affordable than you think.  A recent informal survey of local realtors established that housing costs within the region are up to one third less costly than elsewhere in New England. This translates into more home for your housing dollar. There’s a large Victorian waiting just for you!



Chamber of Commerce


Houlton – A Service Center Community

The Town of Houlton is well prepared for future expansion, and offers a wide range of public and commercial support facilities. These support services include:

  • Professional full time paid police, fire, and ambulance protection 24/7
  • Houlton Regional Hospital, a critical access care facility with 24/7 Emergency Room Services.
  • The University of Maine – Presque Isle, Northern Maine Community College, Houlton Adult Education facility, and the Region Two Center of Applied Technology, all located in Houlton offering a full range of education programs.
  • Houlton Water Company, an independent utility offering the one of the lowest electric rate in the state, as well as town-wide sewer and water service.

Economic Development Contacts

Town Manager –
21 Water Street
Houlton, ME 04730
(207) 532-7111

Community Planning & Development
21 Water Street
Houlton, ME 04730
(207) 532-7111

Johanna Johnston, Executive Director
Southern Aroostook Development Corp.
PO Box 783
Houlton, ME 04730
(207) 521-0157