Franklin County’s amendment to TIF still under review

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FARMINGTON — Franklin County’s amendment to its 2008 tax-increment financing agreement with TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc. remains under state review.

“It is being reviewed and once it is signed by the commissioner it will be approved,” Doug Ray, spokesman for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, said Wednesday.

The proposed amendment was submitted to the state in late 2016.

Franklin County commissioners will meet with Matthew Eddy of Eddy’s Consultants in Brunswick next week to discuss his proposal for implementation and administration of the amended tax-increment financing agreement. His was the only proposal the county received.

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The TIF, which had been amended in 2011, is related to the 44-wind turbine energy facility TransCanada built on Kibby Ridge in Kibby and Skinner townships.

The amendment, if approved, would extend the 20-year TIF agreement to 30 years. The county would capture 100 percent of the new tax revenue from the facility in northern Franklin County.

In the existing TIF, the county captures 75 percent of new tax revenue in the first 10 years and was to capture 50 percent in the past 10 years. The remaining tax dollars were sent to the state of Maine entity that oversees the unorganized territory. Of the 75 percent captured, TransCanada gets back 60 percent and the county retains 40 percent. The split will remain the same under the proposed amendment.

However, in years 2029 through 2038, all TIF revenue would go to the county.

The TIF revenues are used for economic development in the unorganized territory and some TIF-related expenses. The amendment would expand the categories on which the TIF revenue can be spent.

It would also increase the amount of revenues the county could keep from $4 million to $16.4 million, consultant John Cleveland, president of Community Dynamics Corp. in Auburn, said last year.   

TransCanada also agreed to an economic enhancement agreement, which is separate from the TIF. The company has agreed to make voluntary payments to the county for economic purposes beyond what comes from the TIF, Cleveland had said.

Cleveland estimated the amount to be about $3 million total over 12 years. The money could be used throughout the county.

NOTE: The story has been changed since it was originally published to reflect that the state is still reviewing the proposed amendment to the Franklin County tax-increment financing agreement. The information was incorrectly provided to the Sun Journal.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

Franklin County Courthouse

Franklin County TIF categories to be expanded

Among the new activities allowed under Franklin County’s amended tax-increment financing development program, if approved by the state, is revenue could be spent on a telecommunications infrastructure for the unorganized territory, which includes cellphone towers, high-speed internet and costs for necessary planning for installation.

TIF revenue could also be spent on expanded tourism, recreation and marketing; environmental improvements; recreational trail construction, grooming and maintenance, and acquisition of property, or easements, for trails. In the public safety category, funds could be used for emergency communications.

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