RICHMOND — For two decades, officials in Richmond have been able to dedicate a portion of property tax dollars to specific projects in town through a tax increment financing district developed around the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline natural gas compressor station.

Now, they are proposing to extend the pipeline TIF district for 10 more years and to capture all of the property tax paid on the district for a list of specific projects, if voters approve.

“We have a new plan that we didn’t have before,” said O’Neil LaPlante, chairman of the Richmond Board of Selectmen. “So we’re able to use more funds on economic development for a broader range of things — road improvements and that kind of thing — that we didn’t do before. It could be a real boon for us.”

On Monday, the Richmond Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on the proposed TIF district extension as part of the board’s regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Town Office at 26 Gardiner St.

The request will go before voters March 3, when Richmond residents will also decide whether to pursue leaving Regional School Unit 2. The Democratic presidential primary is that day, as is a statewide people’s veto vote on whether to overturn the state law that rejects religious and philosophical objections to vaccinations for students and employees who work at nursery schools and health care facilities.

TIF districts are a way for municipalities to shelter property taxes generated by new development within designated districts. Sheltering that money means it would not be included in the town’s total property valuation for tax calculations for state purposes, such as state aid for education or revenue sharing.

Without that, as a town’s valuation increases, revenue provided by the state decreases and the county assessment increases. Any new value sheltered by a TIF district does not count as part of the town’s property tax value.

Under the rules of the TIF program, property tax revenue collected under the program is required to be spent on designated projects.

Richmond Town Manager Adam Garland said the proposed TIF amendment does not change any of approved designations. It will, however, tap all of the taxes for use in a more-detailed list of projects.

“This is like our capital plan, our guideline,” Garland said. “That assures that we’re fulfilling the original TIF, and it also ensures that moving forward, we’re productive in getting things done.”

The revenue anticipated in the next decade is $8.3 million, and it would be spent on infrastructure improvements like roads that relate to the identified TIF district and also on economic development activities.

“By having the TIF district and capturing at 100% value, we’ll be saving approximate $350,000 in school cost,” Garland said. We’ll preserve about $40,000 in revenue sharing. And then for the county tax, it’s about $29,000. So there are huge savings in capturing this new assessed value.”

The pipeline company pays about $409,000. By sheltering that revenue, he said, the money saved totals about $420,000, bringing the total impact to about $830,000.

“It has a real serious impact on what revenue we see coming in,” Garland said. “The only caveat is that is has to be spent in a fashion that either services or directly relates to the TIF district.”

By capturing all of the allowed value under the proposal, Garland said, town officials will be able to get more things done.

LaPlante said the town is in good financial shape and officials have been setting aside between $200,000 and $300,000 for roads every year. Having the TIF funds available for road maintenance, as identified in the proposal, would allow more road work to be done without going to the taxpayers for the money.

“One of the things that concerns us the most,” LaPlante said, “is being able to explain this to people who find it difficult to understand that if you do this, you get more benefit than if you just take the (pipeline property tax) money.”


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