Oxford sets special town meeting warrant

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OXFORD — Selectmen on Thursday approved the warrant for a special town meeting Feb. 13 on two tax increment financing districts.

The meeting will be preceded by two public hearings.

The first of the TIF articles would establish a 502-acre TIF district called the “Route 26 Omnibus Municipal Development and Tax Increment Financing District.” It would include the site of the future resort casino on Pigeon Hill, 315 acres of additional commercial property along Route 26 and parts of the public right of way along Route 26.

Money generated would pay back the cost of a $1.5 million expansion of the town’s water line up Pigeon Hill to the casino and a 500,000-gallon water tank. The town borrowed about $1 million from developer Bob Bahre for the project. Another $500,000 was given to the town by Black Bear Development, the casino developers.

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If the TIF district isn’t approved, payment for the work will come out of the town’s share of casino revenues.

The second item would extend the length of the Wal-Mart TIF, set in 2000, from its original 12 years to 30 years. Town Manager Michael Chammings said extending the TIF could help pay for extending water service down Pottle Road and throughout the nearby residential area in the north end of town.

Money would also go to upgrading the water line on Allen Hill Road, Chammings said.

Tax increment financing allows a municipality to shelter itself from paying more to the state and county government on property that increases in value, as the casino property is expected to. The town can use the extra funding it gets from property taxes to finance improvements.

The two hearings, one for each TIF, are set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at Oxford Elementary School. The special town meeting will begin after the public hearings.

treaves@sunjournal.com

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