SIDNEY — A tax break for a proposed Richmond-to-Madison gas line was rejected Wednesday by another central Maine community.

A crowd of 338 registered voters packed into a crowded gymnasium Wednesday at James H. Bean School for a special town meeting, and voted against a tax increment financing district for Kennebec Valley Gas Company’s proposed natural gas pipeline, which would run through 12 central Maine communities.

The final tally was 172 -119. The vote followed more than an hour of exhaustive debate, sometimes rancorous, during which nearly 50 people left the building. By comparison, 149 voters attended last spring’s annual town meeting.

Town Clerk Shawna Foye said the turnout was likely due to the number phone calls and letters advocates on both sides of the issue made to voters.

Sidney joins Farmingdale and Madison in rejecting the deal.

Augusta, Fairfield, Gardiner, Oakland and Skowhegan have approved TIF districts within their boundaries.

Waterville City Council has approved first and second readings on the proposal and will take a final vote on Tuesday. Norridgewock voters will decide during its town meeting in March.

Richmond currently has no plans to vote on the proposal. During a November 2011 town survey, Richmond residents did not support the TIF proposal, according to Town Manager Marian Anderson.

To read more about this story, check out the Friday edition of the Morning Sentinel and the Kennebec Journal.

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