MECHANIC FALLS — When the Town Council interviewed Mitch Berkowitz for interim town manager, he said a new town manager could be found in four months and that’s how long he would serve.

He’s held true to that promise.

Berkowitz attended his last meeting with the council Tuesday night.

Berkowitz began his duties as interim town manager on May 20. Three months and two weeks later, on Sept. 7, the town named Vic Hodgkins as the new manager.

In his final and lengthy town manager’s report, Berkowitz reviewed several matters including employee retirement plans, clarification on taxability of solar energy equipment and marijuana licensing updates.

A good chunk of his report however dealt with economic development for Mechanic Falls.


“Though my time in the town has been limited, my observations are that this community has the potential for new economic development,” Berkowitz said.

He specifically cited the Route 26 section in Mechanic Falls between the town line with Oxford and the intersection with Route 11. Berkowitz called this the “corridor of opportunity.”

“What seems to be holding back is the lack of both water and sewer infrastructures,” he said.

He made the following suggestions to the council, the Development Commission and the Planning Board:

• Develop a tax increment financing (TIF) District that would capture new development and taxable value;

• Develop an “interlocal” agreement with the town of Oxford for the extension of both their water and sewer lines from the Oxford Casino down toward the Route 11 intersection to a point at which it is cost effective, and therefore not extend only Mechanic Falls’ lines.


Berkowitz said a town-approved bond could initially pay for this development “and, yes, until added assessed values occur, there would be a new amortization line” in the town ‘s operating budget.

He pointed out that once development has occurred “and new assessed value realized, those new tax receipts are shifted to the TIF, which then pays off the bond.”

Berkowitz said the corridor “has regional benefits, as vacationers and residents alike are attracted to the variety of offerings and job opportunities.”

He said he sees the project as a 20-year commitment, but a commitment that would be “the foundation upon which the outcomes for the town are great.”

In his final sentence Berkowitz stated, “Your current council has five diverse but committed public officials who ultimately want the town to succeed. … Living with past issues tends to slow and even destroy the incentives to move forward.”

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