FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Monday to use $65,497 from its tax-increment financing agreement with Helix Generation for education scholarships to six people in the unorganized territory.

Commissioners also reviewed possible proposed changes in a fifth amendment to the TIF and voted to use up to $50,000 from the unorganized territory’s undesignated fund to cover overage is roadwork bids and installation of culverts.

The tax-increment financing agreement with Helix Generation LLC, an affiliate of LS Power Equity Advisors, was initially made in 2008 between TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc. in relation with a 44-turbine wind energy facility in northern Franklin County, which is now owned by Helix. Since then, the TIF has been amended four times. The TIF targets the unorganized territory district but can be used toward a countywide project if it will benefit the whole county.

The county’s Tax-Increment Financing Advisory Committee reviews all grant and educational scholarship applications and grades them before presenting them to commissioners for review and possible approval.

Charlie Woodworth is the executive director of Greater Franklin Development and an administrator of the county TIF funds. He presented commissioners with the five-member committee’s recommended scholarship amounts. Six students completed scholarship applications, he said.

There is an annual cap of $25,000 on scholarships per individual and a $50,000 cap per student per lifetime.


Awarded scholarships were: Anna Plog, University of Maine at Farmington, $17,580; Hayden Durrell, Central Maine Community College, $6,347; Wyatt Sieminski, Brown University, $7,000; Samantha Nevedomsky, Beal University, $15,943; Trever Phelps, Central Maine Community College, $4,752; and Madison Phelps, Maine College of Health Professions, $13,875.

In another TIF matter, commissioners previously amended the TIF agreement in August to include child care services. It was brought to county leaders’ attention that there are other options that could be included for TIF projects that commissioners may want to consider while drafting the TIF amendment, according to county Administrator Amy Bernard’s information.

It is costly to continue to make amendments to the agreement, she said.

Adding more project types gives the county flexibility to fund projects that may come up in the future.

A list of potential projects include:

Transit-oriented development within the TIF district; recreational trail development within the district; financing costs, professional services costs and organization costs related to the district; affordable housing within the district; affordable housing outside of the district to serve economic development or assist with homelessness; environmental improvements; quality child care and adult care facilities; and, public safety facilities related to economic development not to exceed 15% captured assessed value.

Commission Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton and Commissioner Bob Carlton of Freeman Township made no decisions on the proposal and decided to wait until Commissioner Lance Harvell of Farmington was present.

If commissioners move forward with the amendment, a public hearing would be set. Then the document would go the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

In other business, commissioners voted to use $50,000 from the unorganized territory undesignated fund balance to pay for road work and to install culverts.

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