TIF management report approved


FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to accept a report that outlines management guidelines for the county’s share of a tax-increment financing deal.

Commissioners also agreed with the report’s proposal to seek an amendment to the county’s TIF development program to add new eligible activities that could be funded under the county’s economic development program.

The county entered into a tax-increment financing agreement with TransCanada for its Kibby wind project in 2008. The county stands to gain $4 million over a 20-year period to be used for economic development projects related to the unorganized territory.

The amendment would have to be approved at the state level and go through a county hearing process before it’s adopted, John Holden, who works for Eaton Peabody Consulting Group LLC, said. The firm is working with Greater Franklin Development Corp. and a management committee to oversee applications that come in for eligible projects requesting money from the TIF district.

It is expected the TIF will be fully funded in 2011 as the TransCanada project is developed, Holden said.

The management guidelines determine the procedures for evaluating and selecting projects eligible for county TIF program funds. The primary selection criteria for a project, Holden said, would include collaboration to provide economic development, direct benefit to an unorganized territory business and the applicant being a resident of unorganized territory.

The state changed the law on eligible activities that could be funded by TIF funds since the county’s development program was approved, Holden said. The recommendation is to ask the state to amend the county’s existing development program to add the additional activities of: recreational trails, such as a snowmobile trail, training for residents of the unorganized territory for higher education or certificate program, high-speed Internet use for UT, and emergency communications study. The amendment would also include modifying and clarifying use of TIF funding for emergency equipment and communications.

The firm is working with Alison Hagerstrom of Greater Franklin Development Corp., which has been tasked to review project applications along with other management committee members, Bob Carlton, county Commissioner Fred Hardy, Bruce Hazard, Gary Perlson and Nancy Thomas.

Applications will be accepted for projects next year.

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