Budget Committee Looks at Ending TIF Districts

Thanks to Budget Committee member Gary Vermillion, the Committee will be considering a motion to end all TIF (Tax Increment Finance) districts in Londonderry.

Vermillion said at the Thursday, Sept. 25 committee meeting that he has talked to a lot of people who see no need for a TIF district, citing the lack of revenue for the town. As a result, he moved to recommend to the Town Council that all TIF districts be removed.

As the vote was being taken, committee member Tim Siekmann said he would prefer more discussion.

“I’m hesitating because we should have more discussion to better understand what the impact (is),” Siekmann said. “I don’t understand what the total reason for the TIF district is. I have an idea what it’s used for, but I don’t have the full details of why it was put in place and what its goals are.”

Chairman Ted Combes changed his request for a vote on the motion and opened the matter for discussion.

“Was it just covering the road (Pettengill Road)?” Siekmann asked. “Because if it was just for the road then it doesn’t need to be there, but if it was for some other elements beside the road, what were those?”

Committee member Dana Coons said he understood the TIF’s purpose is to fund the infrastructure improvements to the industrial zone.

“Not only the road, but your sewer, water, electric and everything to help with and promote the development of the area,” Coons said. “Before we recommend this or not recommend it to the Council, I would suggest that we ask (Town Manager) Kevin Smith to come in and give us the reasons behind it, what it’s being used for and so forth.”

Committee member Bill Mee agreed.

“I think it’s more appropriate that we address those questions with the Town Manager, perhaps when he’s in to present his budget,” Mee said.

Vermillion said he would rescind his motion as long as Smith and Finance Director Sue Hickey are invited to the Committee to explain the TIF district’s purpose.

“My understanding is that we still have a TIF district for Home Depot and for the Harvey plant over there by the Coca-Cola plant,” Vermillion said.

Coons said that there was no TIF for Home Depot and that he was on the Planning Board at the time and no TIF was created for Home Depot.

“We need to find out which ones are active and which ones are not active and which ones have completed their objective,” Vermillion said.

Vermillion said that “as everyone knows, Pettengill Road is being built on funds from the property owners and we are having less of an impact for that road. I think we’re under $300,000, our portion of those fees.

“If we need more revenue for the town, to find more revenue and the TIF districts are either too old or obsolete, then we can find revenue that we need to pay for other services for our town, instead of raising taxes every year,” he said.

Combes said Smith and Hickey would at the Committee next month and that instead of removing the motion, it would be tabled until more information was received from them.

“I will also send them an e-mail stating that this is a key issue and I also have received many comments from many other residents that they are not happy with the TIF district, and they are curious as to why we still have it,” Combes said. “UPS and the two major land developers of Pettengill Road are building the road and they are curious because they were informed that the TIF district was mainly put in place because the town had to foot the bill for the road. These three entities are paying for the road and the utilities to go on through.”

He added that the only cost to the town was $250,000 for a traffic light at Industrial and Pettengill roads, as well as money that was already set aside for a sewer that was to go north and south. Combes said residents have questioned why the money in the TIF is not going instead to the general fund.

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