WILTON — The Wilton Selectboard now has the authority to release money from the town’s two tax increment financing district accounts without bringing the matter to a special town meeting.

About 15 residents who attended a special town meeting Tuesday night approved amendments to the Comfort Inn and Suites TIF and the Downtown Omnibus Development TIF.

Before Tuesday night’s action, if the town wanted to use TIF funding for any improvement projects outlined in the TIF agreements, the matter would have to be brought to a special town meeting for voter approval or put on the warrant for the annual Town Meeting in March.

The town may only use TIF funding for alloted projects or programs that are specifically outlined in the TIF agreement. Town Manager Rhonda Irish said the town has been very conservative using TIF funding.

A TIF district allows for the town to shelter any additional property taxes that stem from added value to the area within the district and to earmark that revenue for economic development.

The Comfort Inn and Suites TIF district was established in 2007 and encompasses the hotel itself and other select areas along U.S. Route 2. The account presently has $260,000, Irish said, which the town can use for various improvement projects outlined in the TIF.

The Downtown Omnibus Development TIF was established in 2013 and encompasses the area along Main Street in Wilton. However, the TIF has not generated any revenue for the town because no new property value has been added within the TIF district.

Following the special town meeting, residents heard a presentation from Central Maine Power Co. representatives regarding a prospective substation the company is looking to build on Main Street in East Wilton.

The substation, which will be the smallest substation commissioned by CMP, will replace an outdated substation on Temple Road. CMP purchased 5.5 acres of land in April and has been conducting geological surveys of the land.

Project Manager Daryl Speed said the project is still in the very early stages with an estimated completion of the substation not occurring until mid-2018. Until the company receives the results of geological and environmental studies of the land, they will not be able to present the town planning board with a permitting package, he said. They estimate that the project will go before the planning board in mid-2017.

The exact location of the substation on the property will be determined when the company has received the results of geological surveys and has received community input.

India and Gary Adams, who own property abutting the proposed substation, were distressed over the plans outlined during Tuesday’s presentation.

“I’m very concerned about this,” India Adams said.

India Adams said she was worried about the electric and magnetic fields associated with substations. However, the CMP representatives said the strongest EMFs come from transmission lines entering substations and a transmission line already exists in the area of the Main Street property, which is why this is a favorable location for CMP to be building a new substation.

Adams’ husband also said he has spoken with a real estate agent about the impact the substation will have on the value of their home, saying that their home could lose thousands of dollars in valuation.

Gail Rice, spokeswoman for CMP, said she would look into the impacts substations have had on the property values of abutting properties in other areas.

Selectmen urged that Tuesday’s presentation was just an opportunity for residents to get information and ask questions about the substation. Once the project comes before the planning board, residents will have an opportunity to voice their concerns.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate


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