Five members of China’s Tax Increment Financing Committee (TIF) used their Nov. 15 meeting to make administrative updates.
The major action was approval of a revised application form for groups seeking TIF funding. The form asks for information on how the money will be used and provides for a liaison person from the committee for each group.
In past years, TIF funds have been used by local organizations and town officials for a variety of purposes aimed at promoting economic development. Many involve recreation, directly or indirectly – for example, money for walking trails in town-owned Thurston Park and snowmobile trails maintained by the Four Seasons Club; assistance with water quality projects, especially in China Lake; and money for fireworks at the annual China Days celebration.
Each committee liaison person will help with applications and oversee projects to make sure town funds are spent as proposed, according to committee members’ discussion.
Last spring, committee members prepared and voters approved amendments to China’s TIF plan, which lists types of allowable expenditures. The revised plan still awaits approval from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD); committee member Jamie Pitney said approval is expected soon.
The plan lists proposed maximum amounts to be allocated for various projects in future years. At the Nov. 15 meeting, the majority of committee members thought groups’ requests for allocations were adequate as applications for 2020-21 expenditures, once DECD allows them.
However, Pitney said, DECD officials required additional language saying TIF funds cannot be used for municipal building projects. There are two fund requests for buildings pending.
The Four Seasons Club and the Thurston Park Committee each plan a building, primarily for equipment storage. Pitney said the Four Seasons Club can build with TIF money; but because Thurston Park is town-owned, TIF funds cannot be used for a building there.
Committee Chairman Tom Michaud, who volunteered as liaison with the Thurston Park Committee, said he will talk with Chairman Jeanette Smith as soon as possible.
The next TIF Committee meeting is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13, if there is a need to meet. Otherwise, the next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.
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