AUGUSTA — The City Council on Thursday will discuss two requests for tax increment financing, one to assist with another expansion of the J.S. McCarthy printing plant — which could add at least six jobs there and likely more — and one from developer Richard Parkhurst to rehabilitate the upper floors of a Water Street building.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Center.

The city’s experience with TIFs has been successful so far, according to city officials. It now receives about $873,000 in proceeds from TIFs it has already approved, an amount that is used to offset tax increases.

“We definitely come out on the positive side, particularly over a 30-year period,” said Matt Nazar, development director for the city.

According to City Manager William Bridgeo’s administrative report, the printing firm’s proposed 30-year TIF would provide both the city and McCarthy almost $306,000 each.

“The city’s portion is proposed to be earmarked for improvements to fire stations and the acquisition of firefighting apparatus, as allowed under statute,” Bridgeo wrote.


He said the company would use the money to expand to accommodate new paper cutting equipment.

“We’re adding 14,400 square feet to our existing building and putting in a piece of equipment to convert paper from rolls to sheets,” said Rick Tardiff, president of J.S. McCarthy. “This will help us be more competitive in our industry. The low cost producer is the one that survives in a difficult market.”

Tardiff offered an example of that cost saving using Sappi Paper in Hinckley. He said rolls of paper made there are shipped past McCarthy’s Augusta plan en route to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where they are cut into sheets. When he wants paper, he orders it from Sappi, and the sheets of paper are shipped back to Maine.

“What we’re doing is cutting all of that out,” he said. The new machine will allow McCarthy to use rolls of high-grade coated or glossy paper and uncoated paper directly from the mills. McCarthy uses that paper to print college catalogs and books and a variety of other material.

“The cost saving … will make us more competitive in our industry and also cut back on the amount of paper that we have to purchase,” he said.

Tardiff estimated that will eliminate 390 tons of paper that will not have to be purchased and recycled.


Six new jobs will be required specifically for the new equipment, he said, adding that he anticipates hiring even more people because the increased capacity should bring more work.

McCarthy is working with the city and the state on an application for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for training and machinery.

Tardiff said that since 2012, the firm has invested more than $6 million in capital equipment and added 25 new jobs.

The company employs 206 people, 170 of them in the Augusta plant.

Tardiff said the firm is listed as No. 135 of the top 400 printers in the country and has annual sales of $36.5 million.

The firm, on Darin Drive, has made three previous TIF agreements with the city, beginning in 2001 to bring in a Heidelberg press system, in 2007 to do a 36,000-square-foot expansion of the facility, and in 2012 for a 21,960-square-foot expansion.


Richard Parkhurst, of Manchester, who bought 275-287 Water St., which houses Patricia Buck Bridal as well as the former Gagliano’s Italian Bistro, is seeking a 30-year TIF as well.

Under a proposed agreement, the developer would get $320,000 over a 15-year period and the city would get $640,000 over a 30-year period.

Parkhurst previously entered a TIF agreement with the city to create upscale apartments at 222-232 Water Street, above Charlamagne’s.

The council has scheduled public hearings on the TIF requests for April 21 and is expected to vote on them that night.

Income from that project, too, would pay for improvements to the city’s fire stations and apparatus.

Some councilors already have expressed support for Parkhurst’s project because it would rehabilitate a long-neglected building at a prominent corner downtown.


By sheltering money through a TIF, the new development would not be added to the city’s total property valuation for state tax calculation purposes.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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