AUGUSTA — City councilors on Thursday authorized borrowing about $2.8 million to buy a new ambulance and a new firetruck, put a new roof on the police station, repair the downtown parking garage, make improvements to the lecture hall at Augusta City Center and make improvements to city streets, sidewalks and buildings.

All but $750,000 of that, or about $2 million, also is subject to approval by residents in a November referendum.

Councilors can authorize bonding up to $750,000 for capital improvements themselves, while borrowing beyond that amount also requires approval from residents.

Proposed expenditures approved by councilors, which also will go to voters in November, include $675,000 for a new firetruck, to replace a 1994 truck; and $195,000 to buy a new ambulance, to replace a 2010 ambulance.

They also include $1.1 million for paving and other improvements to city streets and sidewalks.

That borrowing is not expected to increase property taxes, as the bonds would be paid back with proceeds in taxes from natural gas pipelines and other taxable natural gas infrastructure in the city, collected in the city’s natural gas tax increment financing, or TIF, account, according Mayor David Rollins.

“It will be paid back with TIF funds, so there will be no impact on taxes,” Rollins said at Thursday night’s City Council meeting.

The city established a natural gas TIF in 2011 as competing gas companies Maine Natural Gas and Summit Natural Gas of Maine began installing gas lines in Augusta. However, unlike tax financing programs set up to help lure companies to locate within a municipality, the revenue collected in the gas TIF goes to the city, not back to either of the gas companies.

TIFs allow municipalities to collect property taxes generated by new development and dedicate it to specific uses allowed under state law, including infrastructure, downtown revitalization, public safety equipment or economic development projects. By sheltering such money in a TIF, municipalities avoid reduction in state aid to education and other negative tax effects.

Items to be bought with the $750,000 in bonds councilors can authorize without voter approval are expected to include $68,000 to replace the roof at the Police Department; $100,000 for repairs to a deck and doors at the downtown parking garage; $135,000 to upgrade the seating, flooring and sound system of the lecture hall on the first floor of Augusta City Center; $80,000 for a new play structure at McCall’s Park playground, off Eastern Avenue; $75,000 to repair the second-floor ceiling and skylights at City Center; and $80,000 to buy a brine maker to treat roads in the winter.

Councilors approved each of the three proposed bonds — $750,000 for the bond only requiring council approval, $870,000 for a bond to buy the ambulance and the firetruck and $1.16 million in bonds for street and sidewalk improvements — unanimously and with little debate.

At-large Councilor Marci Alexander noted, however, that councilors have discussed the proposals previously at two council meetings.

“We have had a full process for public comment and we’ve had a full discussion among council of these issues,” she said.

A $12,000 item included within the capital improvement plan for Hatch Hill, a “pig launcher,” drew a question from At-large Councilor Corey Wilson, who asked what it is.

Lesley Jones, public works director, said a pig launcher is a device which moves “pigs,” which are tools that go through pipes at the landfill to remove leachate.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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