Some of the 44 wind turbines in the Kibby Wind Power Project tied to a Franklin County tax-increment financing agreement are shown during a 2010 tour of the operation in northern Franklin County. Sun Journal file photo

FARMINGTON — Franklin County may need to repay about $469,000 to the state because the owner of the 44-wind turbine facility in Kibby and Skinner townships was successful in its effort to get a tax abatement, county Clerk Julie Magoon told commissioners Tuesday.

Magoon said she received a call Tuesday from Lisa Whynot, deputy director of the Maine Property Tax Division, before the county commissioners’ meeting informing her of the need to repay state. There are still a lot of moving parts, Magoon told commissioners.

The amount is still under review by the county’s attorney who planned to have a discussion with Whynot, Magoon said Wednesday.

Helix Maine Wind Development, which owns the 132-megawatt facility, had applied for the tax abatement. The county entered into an Enterprise Tax-Increment Finance and Development Program in 2008 with then owners of the facility, TransCanada Maine Wind Development. The agreement was transferred to Helix when L.S. Power finalized the purchase of the facility in 2017 through its affiliate Helix Generation from TransCanada Corp.

The initial value to be sheltered was initially said to be about $320 million prior to the facility going online in 2009 and 2010.

The TIF agreement is for economic development in the unorganized territory in the development district. It has been amended four times with the last in 2020.

The percent of increased assessed value from taxable real and personal property to be sheltered in the original district is 75% in years one through 10 and 50% in TIF years 11-20. The proposed new percent of valuation to be captured in the amended district for the remaining TIF years eight through 30 is 100%, which is where the county is now, Magoon said Wednesday.

The amendment also removed the $4 million cap on TIF revenues that the county could retain to be used on TIF economic development  projects. The county reached the $4 million cap on the revenues in late 2016.

There is money in the TIF to repay the state the $469,000 the county owes, she said.

The county may also be owed money for overpayment to Helix related to the 60-40 split in which Helix gets 60% and the county captures 40%. Magoon said it will have to be determined how much the county overpaid Helix, if it did.

Magoon said she was notified by the company that it applied for an abatement.


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