China TIF members endorse $3,000 more to continue China Days, fishing derby

by Mary Grow

In their informal discussion Feb. 17 as they waited for a quorum to assemble, members of China’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee agreed the Sunday, Feb. 14, fishing derby and the fireworks that followed were well attended and well received (see The Town Line, Feb. 18, 2021).

The fishing derby was sponsored jointly by the China Village volunteer fire department and the China Four Seasons Club. Funds for the fireworks came from the China Days fund, set aside for the annual August celebration, and the selectboard.

During the TIF Committee meeting, members unanimously agreed to recommend an additional $3,000 in TIF support for China Days in 2021-22, so that the winter celebration can continue if town officials so desire.

Otherwise, committee members again postponed their major decision, action to recommend an updated TIF Plan, to be titled the Second Amendment. China’s original 2015 TIF document was first amended in 2017.

Jamie Pitney, a member of both the TIF Committee and the China Broadband Committee (CBC), had drafted and distributed a 29-page document incorporating changes the committee has made. Not all committee members had received it, and only Town Manager Becky Hapgood and two others had had time to read it, so action was postponed.

“I’ve never signed a contract without reading it,” committee member Mickey Wing commented as he favored postponement.

Committee members were to submit any proposed changes, or a note of approval if they recommended no changes, by Feb. 21. They scheduled another meeting for 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25. The CBC also needs to meet that evening, Pitney said, so Hapgood told TIF Committee members they would have 45 minutes, to allow a 7 p.m. CBC meeting.

The revised TIF document includes assistance with broadband service as a new category, now that state regulators allow it. However, Pitney said, uses are limited to expansion to unserved areas, so not much of China’s planned improvements will be eligible for TIF funds.

The TIF document makes recommendations for allocating funds to different purposes, like China Days and similar events that promote the town, recreational trails, assistance to businesses and other categories. If town meeting voters approve the document, selectmen disburse money in accordance with the plan, on request.

Committee member Robert MacFarland asked whether the plan was too restrictive, making it impossible to assist a worthwhile new venture. Pitney pointed to flexible areas, like money to help with engineers and consultants, and added that another review and update like the current one could make additions.

Committee members decided the Second Amendment should not include a schedule of updates. The TIF Committee will continue to meet, and members can make a future decision about timing an update.


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