By Kaitlin Bedell
The Londonderry Town Council discussed the developers of the Woodmont Commons during their May 17 meeting.
The council reviewed the resolution for the land which deals with the adoption of exit 4A as a recognized “TIF district.” The project will be the third TIF District in the town of Londonderry.
Under the Development Agreements approved by the town of Londonderry, the project will implement a Tax Increment Financing Plan.
The developers of Woodmont Commons will upfront the cost of building infrastructure and facilities which will be recognized by the town as public. After establishing a certificate of occupancy, the town will reimburse the developers using the tax revenue earned off of the infrastructure’s new existence.
According to the plan, the plan is only funded by the tax payments of the TIF District and will not impact tax rates of the town, county, or school.
Several Londonderry residents said they were concerned about the project and did not like the allocation of tax money.
Resident Richard Bielinski came up to voice his concerns to the board and said the TIF would act as “welfare for the rich.”
“I think you need to look long and hard at what the taxpayers are paying for,” Bielinski said. “I don’t understand why we keep putting taxpayer money into private development.”
Resident Ray Breslin also raised some concerns to the council.
Breslin said that he was frustrated because he is having a hard time getting a real answer about what the project is going to cost the town.
“We have a right to know what the cost of this is whether the taxpayers of Londonderry are paying for it or not,” Breslin said.
Another resident, Kristine Perez said she is in favor of the TIF District.
“I just see it as a win win if we can collect taxes in a short period of time,” Perez said. “We need to do something about our taxes so that’s just my two cents.”
According to Councilor Tom Dolan, the purpose of the District is to accelerate the process of the development. The developer will still make the project happen without the TIF District, but it will take longer. If the town agrees to the Tax Increment Financing Plan, Dolan said that it will make the project happen faster.
If the infrastructure is developed within a shorter period of time, Dolan said the town will be able to collect more taxes from the developers over time resulting in higher tax revenue.
“With the help of the community we can start collecting those taxes from the business in year three instead of year five,” Dolan said.
Despite the plan’s intention to not negatively impact taxpayers, one resident said he is not confident that Londonderry residents will not be poorly impacted.
“The tax money is going to come back when it’s developed and we’re not gonna see that taxpayer money back until the property is occupied,” the resident said. “I’m not sure why we have to do the TIF district just because the developer asked us to do it.”
Councilor Deb Paul was also not in full agreeance with the Resolution and wanted more time to discuss the plan.
“I understand what you’re doing,” Paul said. “I don’t think there’s a huge rush for this but whatever.”
The Council voted to carry the Resolution with a 4-1 vote. Paul voted no on the issue while the rest of the council approved.