By Chris Paul
With one member of the Town Council needing more information on the town’s idea for a commercial and industrial tax incentive program, the ordinance was continued until the next meeting before a vote could be taken on whether the board is in favor of the new plan.
The newly revised ordinance has been presented a number of times to the Town Council and on Monday night, Town Manager Mike Malaguti, disclosed the revisions made from comments given at a previous meeting.
One of the revisions was to get rid of one of the tiers in the program. Tier three would have allowed any project higher than $2.5 million to be elligable for a tax break, but now, the smallest project that will be allowed has to be at least $15 million or greater.
Another change that made was to make the time allowed shorter for the tax break. It was originally proposed for bigger projects to get 10-years of incentive, now it is just five-years.
In all cases, the Town Council will review projects looking to take advantage of the Tax incentive program on a case-by-case basis and will grant them or deny them if they are deemed not to be in the best interest of the town.
The length of the expiration time was also altered in this revision. The program will now expire two-years after being passed.
Councilor Deb Paul was the only member that didn’t see it as a benefit to the tax-payers, saying that she felt the ordinance benefited the businesses and not the residents.
She also feared that commercial property owners would also be able to take advantage of tax abatements, thus hurting the tax base.
She felt that the ordinance would de-value Londonderry, saying the town should be able to attracted business on its existing merits.
Paul wanted more information on how other towns have taken advantage of this program and how it has worked for them.
It was brought up that only a few towns have used the state-offered legislation, so it will be difucult to collect the data she wanted.
The towns mentioned were Milford and towns in Coos County.
There were a number of residents that also spoke against the program during the public hearing and one that was in favor.
It was ultimately decided that the ordinance should be continued until the next meeting on June 20.