CHINA — Residents will vote at the March 25 Town Meeting on an amendment to the program that shelters taxes from Central Maine Power upgrades.

The tax increment finance, or TIF, district in China was established in 2015 and accumulates more than $250,000 each year in a fund set aside for town economic development projects. The district captures taxes from upgrades to power lines owned by the Central Maine Power Co. Because the upgrades are part of the district, the assessed value is sheltered from school and county taxes.

The amendment to the district is question five on the town warrant and proposes extending its duration, expanding where the town can spend the funds, adding new upgrades to the district and allowing the town to enter into a different kind of TIF agreement with other businesses.

With the new resolution, the tax shelter would last for 30 years, the maximum time the state allows a TIF district to last, instead of 20 years.

The area where the funds from the program can be used is expanding as well. The district boundary will now include the area around FairPoint Communications on Route 3, a 13-lot subdivision on Lakeview Drive owned by the town, the area at the corner of Route 202 and Albion Road near Hannaford supermarket, and the land at the base of Branch Pond, according to Town Manager Dan L’Heureux.

The amendment would also allow the town to enter into an agreement with a person or a business that would return some of their taxes in exchange for locating their business in China and keeping a certain number of people employed, he said.

Finally, a new substation installed on Route 3 across from the South China Post Office is included in the amendment. If approved, the added upgrade would add about $60,000 annually to the TIF fund, L’Heureux said.

Central Maine Power announced in July that it was spending $5.4 million on a new electrical substation that would replace an older system which serves Palermo, Windsor, Liberty, Freedom, Vassalboro and China. The company upgraded the system to serve the growing population, the spokesperson previously said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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