Town Manager Kevin Smith advised the Town Council to amend the Airport Area Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District, decreasing its size and scope.
“The original thought when you adopted this resolution was you didn’t know when development would get going on Pettengill Road, so you captured it all to make future infrastructure proposals,” Smith said. “Development started shortly after the TIF was adopted and I want to propose making a few changes to the TIF this year, amending the actual size of the area, getting rid of the whole right side of Pettengill.”
In addition to recommending a 362-acre reduction of the TIF, with all land incremental tax value to go back to regular valuation, Smith proposed amending the resolution to mandate its termination when the Town meets its obligation to pay for the $250,000 cost of a new traffic light on Pettengill Road.
If the Council adopts the amendment, the Town will see $71,000 in additional property tax money returned to the regular valuation in 2015 to offset the tax rate.
With $114,000 already having come in from the TIF, Smith expects well over the $250,000 required for the traffic light will come in next year.
The Council agreed to hold a first reading for the amendment at a subsequent meeting.
“I think we should bring them back and we may adopt them,” Chairman Tom Dolan said, adding he thinks it’s important to remind people that the purpose of the TIF District was to accelerate development of the Pettengill Road area. “There has been some argument amongst several taxpayers about why we should engage in the TIF – why not just let development happen over serendipity? Maybe it’s true development would have come, but it may not have been the development we wanted.”
Dolan said he heard talk of cul-de-sac developments in the area that would have severely limited other development, and that without the TIF, the Town would have delayed much of the tax revenue that could come earlier in the process.
“By doing the TIF and committing to the traffic light, that enabled the town manager and the town officials to negotiate and accelerate the development,” he said. “If we generate $1 million worth of tax revenue each year, if it didn’t happen for another four years, we would lose $4 million waiting for it to happen. We tried to accelerate those tax revenues in to the town coffers and hopefully with that revenue reduce the burden on the taxpayers. I’m happy with the success of what’s happened.”
In other business Monday night:
• The Town Council approved an expenditure of $2,382 from the Expendable Maintenance Trust Fund for winter maintenance and repairs.
The allocation will fund shoveling, plowing and treatments to parking lots and walkways at Town Hall, the library, the cable access studio and the Senior Center, as well as repairs to a heating unit at Town Hall.