The Spinning Mill building, center, is shown with traffic in January on Water Street in Skowhegan. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file photo

SKOWHEGAN — Skowhegan residents are expected to weigh in on a new tax increment financing agreement, or TIF, for the downtown Spinning Mill redevelopment project at Monday’s town meeting.

Residents also will review a proposed $17.84 million budget and minor updates to two town ordinances at the meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Monday at the Opera House inside the municipal building at 225 Water St.

Selectmen approved the Spinning Mill TIF in March, months after the project suffered millions of dollars’ worth of damage during December’s historic flooding. An owner of the Bangor-based developer High Tide Capital LLC previously called a TIF “the last piece of the puzzle” in getting the project back on track.

Plans for the project at 7 Island Ave. include commercial space, a hotel and workforce and higher-end housing. The developer and some town officials have said that the development will be a centerpiece of Skowhegan’s ongoing economic revitalization.

A TIF designates a district where a municipality will capture increases in property taxes as a result of commercial investment. In this case, that area has been defined as parcels and roads on Skowhegan’s downtown island, where the Spinning Mill is located.

The municipality commits to using the increase in tax proceeds over an original assessed value to fund specific projects related to economic development, which in this case, include infrastructure projects such as paving and sewer work in Skowhegan.


The municipality not only benefits from those set-aside funds to complete projects, but also because the additional value generated by the project is sheltered from the negative impacts of a growing tax base. That means state aid for education and revenue sharing will not be decreased by rising property values, and the school and county assessments will not increase based on the commercial investment that would increase property values.

In the case of the Spinning Mill TIF proposal, 90% of the tax increment financing will go back to the development for 15 years as a credit, with the other 10% going toward the town’s TIF fund, according to Jeff Hewett, the town’s director of economic and community development.

Then, for the next five years, the Spinning Mill project will get back a 45% credit. For the remaining 10 years of the 30-year TIF, the town will receive all of the financing, with no credit for the Spinning Mill.

New TIFs must be approved by voters at the town meeting and are reviewed by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.


Residents also are expected to review warrant articles for a proposed $17.84 million municipal spending plan for 2024-25.


The spending plan recommended by the Board of Selectmen represents an increase of approximately $454,000, or 2.61% more than the budget approved last year.

With revenues estimated at a total of $2.58 million, the amount raised through taxation is approximately $15.26 million, according to budget information. That is roughly a 4.6% increase over last year’s budget.

Major increases in spending are in the assessing department, which has a new contractor after the town’s longtime assessor retired earlier this year; town insurance; the wastewater treatment department; and the police and fire department, budget figures show.

Major capital expenditures in the budget proposal include $300,000 for sewer collection system upgrades; $75,000 for two new police cruisers; $1.3 million for streets and sidewalks; $150,000 for public works vehicle replacement; and $235,000 for the fire department’s fire truck replacement plan.

The spending plan also includes support for community organizations, such as $78,750 for the Main Street Skowhegan, $35,000 for the Skowhegan Regional Chamber of Commerce and $21,000 for Lake George Regional Park. Selectmen are recommending $175,000 be raised and given to the Skowhegan Free Public Library, instead of the library’s $198,000 request.

The municipal budget does not include the county and school district assessments. The Somerset County assessment for this year for the town will be $2.94 million. If approved at the district budget referendum Tuesday, the Maine School Administrative District 54 assessment will be $9.97 million, a 2.69% increase over last year.


Town officials have yet to determine the new property tax rate, according to Town Manager Dawn DiBlasi.


Also on the warrant are updates to the town’s sign ordinance and floodplain management ordinance.

The proposed sign ordinance changes correct some grammatical errors and a reference to a part of the ordinance that was removed during the last amendment, according to Bryan Belliveau, Skowhegan’s code enforcement officer.

The proposed floodplain management ordinance brings Skowhegan into compliance with state minimum requirements set by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation, Belliveau said. The changes are important for Skowhegan residents who buy flood insurance.

“Without these changes, our residents would see a reduction in their discount for flood insurance,” Belliveau said in an email.

Notably, residents will not be weighing in on the future of the Skowhegan Indian sculpture created by Bernard Langlais, which is currently owned by the Skowhegan Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The town was offered ownership of the sculpture earlier this year. Selectmen considered letting residents decide whether to accept the offer but ultimately voted against including the question on the town meeting warrant.

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