January 3, 2013

Monmouth meeting to focus on tax break proposal

Kennebec Journal Staff

MONMOUTH -- Town officials are hosting an informational meeting tonight to provide highlights of a tax break proposal aimed at sprucing up the downtown.

Town Manager Curtis Lunt said the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Town Office, is being held to provide information on a tax increment financing -- or TIF -- plan that would shelter additional revenue generated by the new Central Maine Power Co. substation on South Monmouth Road.

Town officials are planning a formal public hearing on the TIF proposal at the selectmen's meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 16. Residents will vote on the plan Feb. 12.

The substation will add about $22 million to the town's valuation. That means the town will receive about $293,000 more in property taxes each year.

But the increased property valuation means the town would receive less money from the state through revenue sharing and for education, all while paying more in county taxes. Lunt said based on current calculations, the effect would total about $112,000.

The Economic Development Committee's proposal would shelter about half of the substation's property value, or about $11 million. The maneuver would allow the town to keep about $146,000 in property taxes that would be earmarked for specific projects, such as downtown improvements to attract additional businesses and giving new businesses a tax break. Long-term plans also call for the creation of an industrial park. Spending is limited to projects outlined in the TIF plan approved by voters and the state.

As a tradeoff for creating the TIF and limiting how the money can be spent, the state would cut in half the valuation increase created by the substation. That means the effect on state revenue sharing and education funding, as well as the increased county assessment, would total only about $56,000.

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