Board recommends using TIF money on revolving loan fund

by Mary Grow

China’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee has voted to recommend using part of TIF funds to set up a revolving loan fund to provide additional money for new or expanding local businesses, to supplement bank loans and other funding sources. The vote at the committee’s Nov. 21 meeting was 7 to 3, with David Cotta opposed and Frank Soares and Jim Wilkinson abstaining.

Committee members then decided to spend about half of their Dec. 5 meeting working out details of their proposal, like how much money will be involved, before forwarding the recommendation to China selectmen.

They plan to recommend that administration be entrusted to the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG). KVCOG Executive Director Rosie Vanadestine has attended meetings to advise committee members. TIF Committee Chairman Amber McAllister proposed inviting her to the Dec. 5 meeting; no decision was made.

The meeting opened with a discussion of access to China Lake with resident Janet Preston, who served on the earlier Lake Access Committee. Voters rejected the committee’s plan to buy the former Candlewood Camps on the east shore of China Lake, near the north end.

In July, Preston sent the TIF Committee a letter about a property for sale on the west side of the lake. Having received no response, she came to the Nov. 21 meeting, where McAllister and other committee members agreed lake access was one possible use of TIF funds.

Soares said the Four Seasons Club, of which he is president, would be open to an arrangement to turn its beach on the east shore of China Lake, almost opposite the town office, into a town beach. Committee members said they ought to inspect both properties, but set no date for an inspection. After another discussion of the proposed improvements to the boat launch and fishing area at the head of the lake, committee members asked engineer Mark McCluskey of A. E. Hodsdon for revised cost estimates for the work. McCluskey and committee representatives met with state Department of Environmental Protection staff to get information on permit requirements.

McCluskey thinks it is possible to improve the boat launch, the parking area boaters use and perhaps the bridge that crosses the inlet from the Muldoon into the lake without the amendments to China’s Land Development Code that voters rejected Nov. 8. He plans to consult with Codes Officer Paul Mitnik.

Acting on another Nov. 8 local referendum question, voters approved spending up to $50,000 to improve the recreational trail along the Central Maine Power Company line that runs north-south through China. Soares said the first part of the work is about to be bid out.

Taxes on the expanded CMP line are the source of TIF money. Building it damaged the trail.

The agenda for the Nov. 21 TIF meeting called for scheduling an open house in the FairPoint building on Route 3, which committee members have talked about recommending the town buy, and scheduling a public information session to let

China residents comment on the various projects the committee is considering. Both ideas were discussed; no action was taken on either.



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