FARMINGDALE — Voters for the second time rejected a tax break for a natural gas pipeline company and a selectman who touted it barely survived his reelection bid.

After polls closed tonight, town clerk Phyllis Weeks said a tax break asked for last year by Kennebec Valley Gas Co. lost 140-116, according to unofficial results.

In addition, David Sirois, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, defeated challenger Julian Beale, a town fireman, 125-119. Sirois couldn’t be reached for comment Friday night.

The rejection of the tax break — which would likely have gone to Summit Natural Gas of Maine Inc. after it signed an agreement earlier this year to buy Kennebec Valley Gas — is Farmingdale voters’ second since December, when they rejected it at a special town meeting.

Summit, owned by a JP Morgan investment fund, plans to build a natural gas pipeline starting in Windsor, and then ranging from Richmond to Madison, and using distribution lines to reach large commercial, industrial and residential areas.

Bill Crowley, a resident opposing the tax increment financing deal for the pipeline operator, cheered the vote against the TIF.

“I personally believe this will give Summit Utilities second thoughts about building the pipeline,” he said. “They have good financial backing. Why do they need a TIF?”

Aside from the Farmingdale tax increment finance setback, Summit suffered another setback this week when Maine Natural Gas, Inc, a subsidiary of the owner of Central Maine Power, won a state contract to supply natural gas to state campuses in Augusta and Gardiner. Summit and another company put in for the contract.

“Without the big government customers, I don’t think they’ll be able to build,” Crowley said. “What’s in it for them? Not much.”

According to the Maine Townsman, the Maine Municipal Association’s publication, the Farmingdale TIF would have sheltered more than $730,000 in property taxes to the builder of the pipeline.

Overall, Kennebec Valley Gas asked for more than $15 million in sheltered taxes — an 80 percent tax rebate for the first 10 years of operation, 60 percent for the following five years.

The company pitched that to 12 municipalities from Richmond to Madison. Along with Farmingdale, Sidney and Richmond have both rejected the agreements. All others have accepted them.


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