FARMINGDALE — Residents may not have the chance to get natural gas to their homes even if the town grants Kennebec Valley Gas Co. a 15-year tax break.

The company wants to run a main line through Farmingdale as it travels between Richmond and Madison.

But Mark Isaacson, one of three principals of Kennebec Valley Gas Co., told selectmen and residents Wednesday there has to be enough interested residents to run a line into neighborhoods. The company would only run a main line if the town turns down the tax increment financing deal now being discussed.

“My biggest concern with this whole thing is the benefits to the town,” said David Cyr, a Sheldon Street resident. “It may not be a benefit because the company won’t go up side streets.”

Kennebec Valley Gas Co. is seeking a TIF from each of the 12 towns in Kennebec Valley that the line would run through; however, the line is still contingent on signing up potential big users, and so may not be built at all. The company received a conditional certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Maine Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 18.

Tax increment financing shelters a developer from paying property taxes for a period of time in order to help fund the work. Specifically, the company wants the town to return 80 percent of property taxes to them the first 10 years after the project has started, and 60 percent the next five years.

Isaacson told the board that natural gas would provide an estimated 30 percent to 40 percent reduction in annual energy costs.

He also said the line can run beneath the shoulder of a road at a minimum of 3 feet.

When asked about safety concerns regarding a gas line, Isaacson said the company uses new pipe and good construction practices.

He said the gas company has received strong support and interest among business, institutional and government customers in the service territory, and the company hopes to get the necessary state and town permits and start construction in 2012 and would be in service in 2013.

Key users would be Huhtamaki in Waterville, Sappi Paper and Madison Paper. Selected secondary users would be Colby College, Hannaford, the state, The Marketplace at Augusta and the University of Maine at Augusta.

In other business, selectmen talked Wednesday about working on a fireworks ordinance and getting one in place before January, when the sale and use of consumer fireworks becomes legal.

They talked about holding a town meeting that would address the fireworks’ ordinance; a road ordinance specifying criteria for the proposed gas line; and voter approval of the TIF.


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