RICHMOND — Richmond’s selectmen will ask voters to extend a tax increment financing agreement for a privately owned gas pipeline and compression station by 10 years.

The question will be placed on a March 3 municipal ballot, the same day as the Democratic Party presidential primary.

The natural gas pipeline and compression station is owned by Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. The compression station is on Lincoln Street and the pipeline runs through Richmond from the northeast corner of the town to the southern border on Route 197. The agreement was created in 2000, designed to create economic development opportunities for the town.

Town Manager Adam Garland said the tax agreement doesn’t directly benefit the pipeline developer. It works as a tax break for the town when it comes to paying school and county taxes, he said.  Last year it generated $156,000, which selectmen decided how to spend.

In the past, the money has paid for local events like Richmond Days which draw people to town and to local businesses. The town also started an economic development revolving loan fund to help spur job creation and property investment. The pipeline tax agreement funds half of the economic and community development director position, which is also paid for through a separate arrangement.

Garland said he and selectmen recognize that the agreement hasn’t been used to its full potential over the last 10 years and plan to propose amendments to the agreement for voters to consider, likely within the next year. The vote on March 3 is only on extending the existing agreement for another decade.

Because the agreement expires in March, Garland said it created a time crunch preventing selectmen from waiting to put it before voters at the annual town meeting in June.

The public can weigh in at public hearings on Jan. 27 and Feb. 10.


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