Lewiston development won’t come at the expense of neighboring communities, councilors agreed Tuesday.

The City Council has passed a measure to ensure that the city can’t use Pine Tree Zone benefits to lure existing Maine businesses into the city.

Lewiston will be one of several zones set up around the state by Gov. John Baldacci to encourage development. To qualify, businesses must add full-time employees, offer qualified retirement programs and group health insurance, and offer wages greater than the surrounding county average.

In the Androscoggin Valley zone, the average wage is $12.93 per hour.

Businesses can get sales tax and personal tax exemptions, tax reimbursements and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) benefits, and would have their state income taxes refunded for five years.

The “noncompete” clause that councilors adopted Tuesday is part of the refinements the state has made to the program since January.

Lewiston: Sewer system rates up

Councilors have made good on a budget pledge to increase sewer fees, which will go up by 5 percent. That amounts to about $12.48 per year for an average home.

Councilors agreed to raise the fees as part of their budget plan last month. That budget, for fiscal year 2004-05, is scheduled to take effect July 1. The new fees should generate an additional $178,000.

Lewiston: City plans revaluation

City assessors will revalue Lewiston properties in 2006. Part of a 2005 bond issue approved Tuesday by the City Council would pay for the revaluation.

City Administrator Jim Bennett said the $15.3 million bond for capital projects includes $325,000 for the revaluation. According to his time line, taxpayers would see their first bill based on the new values in September 2006.

Bennett had planned to postpone the revaluation to keep the bond issue lower. However, the city has delayed some borrowing planned for Bates Mill development for a year. That left room in the 2005 plan, he said.

– Scott Taylor

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