HALLOWELL — A city committee and a consultant have wrapped up their work on a draft policy that revamps how Hallowell makes decisions about tax increment financing districts and credit enhancement agreements.

One of the four members of the TIF Policy Committee, Frank O’Hara, met with City Councilor Maureen Aucoin and consultant Raegan LaRochelle this week to review a draft policy and make final changes. The TIF Policy Committee is an “on-call” group that includes three other members — Ken Young, Joel Davis and Hanneke McQuoid — none of whom were in attendance.

The committee has met three times to work on a new TIF policy. Hallowell officials hired LaRochelle to rewrite and streamline the city’s policy in March, approving $2,500 for the work.

In addition to explanations of TIFs and credit enhancement agreements, O’Hara said the updated policy document also includes a change in emphasis in the kind of the development the city would like to see.

The current policy focuses on blight and job creation. The new draft shifts the focus to arts and culture improvements, and gateway redevelopment, as well as other items mentioned in the city’s comprehensive plan. The new document doesn’t omit reducing blight and job creation but it mentions urban housing and small business start-ups as goals for urban areas of the city.

The document mentions potential development on Whitten Road, of businesses that use the Kennebec River and of entities that want to incorporate “green initiatives.”


It also includes a breakdown of the application process, which requires a meeting with the city manager, Planning Board approval for the project and meeting with the City Council’s Finance Committee before applying for a credit enhancement agreement or TIF district.

Aucoin said Tuesday that the draft policy is easier to understand than the current policy.

“There’s a lot of legal jargon in (the current policy),” she said.

LaRochelle said she would make final semantic changes based on input from O’Hara and Aucoin and send the document to City Manager Nate Rudy for eventual City Council approval. Rudy was out of the office Friday and unavailable for comment.

During the March discussion about the TIF policy, Aucoin alluded to funding errors and then disclosed her concerns in greater detail in April. She said more than $10 million of property value in local TIF districts was not sheltered for the past three years, causing more than $200,000 in tax revenue to be erroneously put into the city’s general fund. In May, Rudy announced there would be no penalty to the city as a result of the errors.

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