BELGRADE — The town will hold a public hearing later this month on the proposal to grant a tax break to a company that wants to build a natural gas pipeline that would pass through town.

A hearing is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, at the Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons. The request for a tax increment financing district agreement will be voted on June 12.

Kennebec Valley Gas Co.’s $86 million proposed natural gas pipeline would run through a dozen towns, from Richmond to Madison. Sidney voters rejected a tax break for the project, so gas company officials recently turned to Belgrade for an alternate route. The pipeline would run about 10 miles through town via routes 27 and 11.

The select board has held off scheduling a public hearing until it received an analysis from the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments explaining how the town would benefit from the proposed tax break.

Officials found out last month that the gas pipeline could bring to the town more than $9 million in new investment.

Selectmen “seem to be fairly positive about it,” Town Manager Gregory Gill said of the tax increment financing district, which returns tax money back to the developer for a certain amount of time. “They just want to make sure as many residents as we can contact are contacted. We’re going to send out a mailing to all the registered voters in town and include the pros and the cons.”

The gas company is proposing a 15-year TIF that’s estimated to total new investment of $9.3 million. Taxes are returned to the company in decreasing increments over 15 years; the town would get $26,226 a year in tax revenue for the first 10 years and $52,452 a year the last five years. Once the tax break is complete, the town would get about $131,130 a year.

Ken Young, executive director of the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, the organization that has brokered the tax deals with other communities, said the money can be put in the town’s general fund or put in a special account to be used for specific purposes.

At selectmen meetings last month, residents expressed mixed feelings about a pipeline running through town. They had concerns about safety, the environment, property values and the possible economic burden.

Gill said there aren’t many downsides to the deal except that the pipeline will benefit only the people living along the route.

Colorado-based Summit Natural Gas will run distribution lines from the main pipeline to businesses and homes along the route that want to change over from fuel oil to natural gas as a heating source.

Gill said the mailing to residents is being drafted and will likely be sent out after the warrant article is finished for the June 12 vote.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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