SIDNEY — A date is set for a public meeting on a proposed tax increment financing deal with Kennebec Valley Gas Company.

The 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14 public meeting at the Town Office is an opportunity for residents to learn more about the proposed deal and its potential benefits for the town, according to Selectman Bob Campbell.

Residents will be asked to vote on the proposal on March 24 at the Town Meeting.

Kennebec Valley Gas intends to install a natural gas pipeline stretching through 12 communities from Richmond to Madison.

In Sidney, the proposal calls for a 20-mile, $9 million segment buried under Middle Road from Augusta to Oakland.

The project is contingent on the approval of tax increment financing districts, or TIF districts, in each community, the developer has said.

The TIF districts would allow towns to divert a percentage of the increase in property taxes generated by Kennebec Valley Gas Co. back to the company to help it finance the project.

The districts would also act as a tax shelter for towns. Communities can divert payments from Kennebec Valley Gas into accounts for economic development. Without the shelters, however, the sudden increase in taxable property — the pipeline — would show as new revenue and result in increased tax commitments from each town to counties, schools and the state, Campbell said.

Under the proposed TIF agreement, 80 percent of new property taxes during the first 10 years would return to the developer and 20 percent to the towns. In years 11 through 15, 60 percent would return to the developer and 40 percent to the towns.

In Sidney, total diverted payments to the developer would be $970,200 over 15 years. During the same period, payments to the town would be $352,800.

For the first 10 years, Sidney would receive about $18,000 per year, which could be diverted into tax-sheltered capital funds for maintenance and repairs to town facilities such as the fire station, town garage and town office, according to selectman Bob Campbell.

Other board ideas for the money include paying down debts on First Park — a multiple-municipality economic development property in Oakland — or offsetting the town’s yearly payments to Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18.

Campbell said the public meeting is an opportunity for residents to weigh in on potential projects.

“We’re going to put forward some ideas that we’ve been throwing around, but the townsfolk will have the opportunity to talk about it,” he said. “Maybe they can come up with some better ideas.”

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

[email protected]

 


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