China TIF committee fails to finish adjusting proposed spending

by Mary Grow

China Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee members again failed to finish adjusting proposed 2021-22 expenditures at their Feb. 3 meeting, and for the second time did not have time to start discussing committee policies and procedures.

They do have at least two versions of a committee mission statement circulating. Chairman Tom Michaud and Town Manager Becky Hapgood (who is also treasurer for both the town and the committee) will see if they can find any earlier policy and procedure documents.

Hapgood informed members at the beginning of the meeting that the TIF fund is not out of money. “We’re in better shape than I thought we were,” Hapgood said.

Since the TIF was last adjusted in 2017, more than $1 million has been spent on the causeway project, the new bridge and other changes at the head of China Lake’s east basin. That project is almost done (the committee recommended another $50,000 for next year, and there are a few bills unpaid) freeing up future funds for other TIF projects.

TIF funds come from Central Maine Power Company taxes on the powerline through China and the South China substation. The second payment for 2020-21 – from CMP and all other taxpayers – is due Friday, March 26.

Committee members discussed expected future income, which will go down slowly as the TIF moves toward its 2045 end date and, Hapgood pointed out, will vary whenever China’s tax rate changes. The figures they considered range from around $295,000 to more than $338,000 a year.

Since their Jan. 27 meeting, several groups had submitted applications for 2021-22 TIF funds. Hapgood said to her knowledge, the requirement for a formal application, rather than a less formal proposal, is new to most fund recipients; therefore they did not send an application earlier in the year.

Committee members revised some of their previous decisions, mostly increasing proposed funding. As at past meetings, recreational trails, including those maintained by the Four Seasons Club (see The Town Line, Feb. 4, p. 3) were a main topic.

Still undetermined is how much the Broadband Committee (CBC) will request to help expand and improve China’s broadband service (see box). Jamie Pitney, a member of both the TIF Committee and the CBC, said CBC members should consider proposed costs at their Feb. 11 meeting.

TIF Committee members set their next meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The TIF Committee’s final recommendations, labeled the Second Amendment to China’s TIF document, will go to China selectmen, and if they approve, to the budget committee and then to voters to accept or reject. Committee members still hope to agree on recommendations in time for a vote at the May 18 town business meeting.

Broadband committee receives three replies on RFP

At a very short special meeting Friday afternoon, Feb. 5, Town Clerk Angela Nelson told China’s Broadband Committee members they received three replies to their Request for Proposals (RFP) for expanding and improving broadband service in China.

Interested companies are Axiom, based in Machias; Sertex Broadband Solutions, of Plainfield, Connecticut; and Spectrum Community Solutions, of Augusta. No dollar figures were mentioned.

The broadband committee is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, to consider the proposals.


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