CANTON — Selectmen decided Thursday to meet with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to learn whether establishing a Tax Increment Financing district for the $50 million Canton Mountain Wind power project would be worthwhile.

State Rep. Richard Pickett, R-Dixfield, and Mike Rogers, a property appraiser from Maine State Revenue Services will join selectmen for the meeting.

Last fall, tax consultant Mathew Eddy of Brunswick researched the TIF program for the town and found that Canton would capture only 5 percent of the town’s value through the economic development program — a little over $2.3 million. Selectmen decided the TIF process was not a worthwhile investment without revisions.

TIF programs allow municipalities to create special districts to promote economic development. Officials can reallocate any increase in property taxes to encourage investment and promote development in the district.

On Thursday, Rogers reviewed the town’s TIF application and said he thought the town should be able to benefit from a TIF.

“The town of Oakfield had over $200 million dollars worth of turbines in their community and they captured the whole (amount) so there is nothing that would prohibit the town of Canton, as far as I see, from capturing all of that value, if they so choose,” Rogers said.

The eight-turbine wind power project on Canton Mountain was developed by Patriot Renewables of Quincy, Mass.

A $15,000 donation expected from Patriot Renewables to help build a snack shack at the community baseball field has been cut in half by the company, according to Selectman Brian Keene.

“We sent an email to (a Patriot Renewables representative) and we were told they weren’t going to give us the whole amount,” Keene said. “They would give us half of the amount, the $7,500 versus the $15,000, and they would like to know how the town is going to contribute the rest of it.”

The company is also asking the town to get the other $7,500 from “fringe benefits money” from Canton Mountain Wind. Patriot Renewables gave the town $32,000 for a community development fund.

Selectmen plan to write to the company to say the town will contribute all of the labor toward the project, as originally planned, and repeat their request for $15,000.

In other business, Diane Ray was appointed to a four-year term on the Planning Board.

She replaces Becky McDonald, whose resignation was accepted at the meeting. Ray is also a member of the Shoreland Zoning Committee.

“I am excited to see how we can advance (shoreland zoning), as well as other update initiatives,” Ray said.

On Friday, McDonald said she felt “frustrated and blocked” by some selectmen who made it difficult for the Planning Board to create ordinances.

“At this time there is no communication, support, or respect for the Planning Board from some of the town employees and selectboard,” McDonald wrote in her resignation letter.

Selectmen also accepted the resignation of Planning Board member Tom Adley on Thursday. Adley said Friday that he has served the town since he was a freshman in high school and he’s “tired.”

Adley’s seat will be filled during town elections in June.

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Selectman Rob Walker, left, reviews Tax Increment Financing information with state Rep. Richard Pickett, R-Dixfield, center, and Mike Rogers, right, a property appraiser from Maine State Revenue Services, at the Canton selectmen meeting Thursday night. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Diane Ray was appointed to the Canton Planning Board this week. (Submitted photo)


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