03-11-2014 Select Board Meeting Minutes

MINUTES

Town of Bowdoinham

Select Board Meeting

March 11, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

 

 

1.         Call the Meeting to Order & Establish a Quorum

 

The meeting was called to order and quorum established by Chairman Hobart at 5:30 p.m.  Select Board members Brian Hobart, M. Theresa Turgeon, Wendy Cunningham, Kathy Gallant and Doug Tourtelotte were present.  Staff present included Town Manager William Post and Planning & Development Director Nicole Briand. Also present was Scott Benson from the Midcoast Economic Development District (MCEDD), George Christopher and Wendy Rose.   

           

2.         Amendments to the Agenda – None

 

3.         Approve Consent Calendar

  1. Meeting Minutes of February 25, 2014

 

On motion of Hobart/Tourtelotte, the Board voted 4 – 0 – 1 (Gallant abstained) to approve the meeting minutes of February 25, 2014 as presented.

 

B.   Warrants & Financial Reports:

1.   Treasurer’s Warrant #56 for $256,762.68

2.   February Financial Report

            C.  Reports & Communications

                  1.   Sheriff’s February Incident Report

                  2.   North East Mobile Health Services Quarterly Report

                  3.   North East Mobile Health Services Annual Report

            D.  Quit Claim Deed(s)

                  1.   Raymond Seigler, Jr and Shirley Bernier for 2011 and 2012 taxes paid

                  2.   Tyne (Watson) Whittaker for 2011 and 2012 taxes paid

                  3.   Robert C. and Kelly L. Davis for 2011 taxes paid

 

On motion of Turgeon/Gallant, the Board voted 5 – 0 to approve the remainder of the Consent Calendar as presented.

 

4.         Discussion Items

A.  New Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District for CMP Project

 

            Scott Benson, a consultant from the Midcoast Economic Development District (MCEDD) hired by the Town to assist with the development of the proposed tax increment financing (TIF) district for the CMP project, introduced himself. Mr. Benson then presented a thorough overview of TIF districts and the proposed CMP/Riverfront TIF District and development program for Bowdoinham.

 

            Mr. Benson stated that tax increment financing is a public economic development financing program funded by the property taxes on the incremental new value generated by a development project.  Through a local public process, a municipality designates a specific geographic area as a TIF district. The value of the taxable property already within the district is frozen at the time of the district’s establishment; this is called the original assessed value (OAV). The TIF applies only to the new value in the district, to be generated by private investment; this is called the increased assessed value (IAV). All of a portion of the increased assessed value generated by the private investment in the district is captured and the tax on the captured assessed value (CAV) funds a municipally adopted development program for up to 30 years.

 

            TIF revenues are used to cover costs of improvements within the district such as new construction, redevelopment, financing costs, professional services and administrative costs. TIF revenues are also used for costs of improvements outside of the district, but related to the district. TIF revenues are also used for costs related to town-wide economic development such as programs and events developed by the municipality, environmental improvement projects, establishment of revolving loan funds, skills development and training, and trail improvements. These are the types of costs that will be covered by the new CMP/Riverfront TIF as proposed.

 

            A secondary benefit of a TIF is that it shelters against adjustments to state subsidies and county taxes based on a town’s total valuation. A town’s equalized assessed value as of April 1st each year is used to calculate general purpose aid to education, state revenue sharing and county tax share. As the town’s total value increases, the town will realize a decrease in education and revenue sharing from the state and an increase in county tax. Therefore, new tax revenues resulting from a significant development project are reduced through the loss of subsidies and increased county tax. TIF allows the town to shelter new value in a district from the computation of its state subsidies and county tax. The sheltering allows the town to retain all or a portion of those new tax revenues that would otherwise have gone to covering the cost of reduced subsidies or higher county taxes. Use of revenues captured and retained through TIF shelter is restricted and must be spent for approved economic development activities (the development program).

 

            Central Maine Power is rebuilding 2.8 miles of transmission lines and building new structures (towers) to hold the lines. It is anticipated that the new assessed value will increase by $10 - $15 million. This creates an opportunity for a TIF district to capture that new assessed value and use revenues to fund a development program.

 

            In June 2013, the Town contracted with MCEDD to assist with the creation of a TIF for the CMP project. Consultant Scott Benson of MCEDD was assigned to work with the Town. There were several meetings with town staff, the Community Development Advisory Committee and businesses and residents to gather input on what projects they would like to see funded through the proposed TIF. Some of the potential projects that are listed in the draft development program are a village wastewater disposal system study and design, the redevelopment of the Public Works site for commercial or recreational use, public restroom construction at Mailly Waterfront Park, the design, construction, and maintenance of the Merrymeeting Trail, local matches to grants for economic development purposes, operating costs for the economic and community development office of the town, marketing, events, and business workshops and training programs.

 

The total estimated cost of all of the potential projects is $3,580,000 if all were funded. The development program is intended as a menu of eligible activities and projects with the understanding that not all can be funded. 

 

The next steps include finalizing the draft of the TIF District and Development Program, a public hearing on the proposed TIF, a resolution approving the draft documents and approving the town meeting warrant article language, a town meeting vote, and submittal of the application and program to the Maine Department of Economic and Community development for approval.

 

Mr. Benson also reviewed several scenarios with changes in the estimated new assessed value for the project, and related revenues and potential losses of revenue if the TIF is not approved. He estimated that 70% of any new tax revenue generated from the project would be lost to decreased education and revenue sharing subsidies and increased county tax if a TIF was not utilized by the Town. 

 

The Manager stated that there are two questions for the Select Board – what rate of capture does the Board want to pursue, up to 100% of the new assessed value, and what length of time for the TIF? The Manager stated that he originally suggested a 70% capture of the new assessed value, so that the remaining 30% new assessed value would be added to the Town’s assessed valuation to help offset any tax increase. However, after reviewing the actual numbers, it does not make economic sense to capture less than 100%. The Town would only realize a 30% gain and lose 70% of the new tax revenue.

 

Board member Cunningham stated that she felt the same way, she would like more assessed value to help keep the tax rate stable, but the loss of revenue does not seem worth it. She asked Benson what other towns do. Benson stated that every town is different, but most capture 100% in a TIF because of the adverse impacts.

 

Board member Tourtelotte asked if the TIF could be changed after it was initially approved. Benson stated that a TIF can be changed yearly if that is what the Town wants.

 

Board member Turgeon asked how the assessed value was determined. The Manager stated that the new assessed value is an estimate because generally the Town accepts whatever CMP declares as a value for their property in Town. It is very difficult for an assessor to determine what the overall value is for utilities, however, it can be done. CMP, in their submittal to the PUC for this project, estimated construction costs at approximately $30 million.

 

Board member Tourtelotte stated that construction costs are not necessarily equal to assessed value. The Manager agreed. The Town does have some time to work however, as the entire project will not be completed by April 1st of this year, and hopefully it will be done by April 1, 2015. We will have a value of whatever is complete by April 1, 2014, then can review that to determine if that is in line with what remains for construction to meet the $15 million number, or if it will be higher. The actual amounts in the TIF, if changed, are considered minor modifications by the DECD.

 

Board member Tourtelotte asked if the TIF revenues that are not spent are placed in a reserve fund. The Manager responded that any TIF revenue not spent is placed in a TIF reserve account and can only be spent on projects as outlined in the approved development program.

 

            The Board thanked Mr. Benson for his presentation.

                       

   5.      Action Items

A.  Act on Request to join the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Communities

 

Board member Theresa Turgeon stated that the World Health Organization has a program called the Global Network of Age-Friendly Communities and the Committee on Aging would like Bowdoinham to apply to join this network. The network has been moistly focused on cities and now they see a need in rural areas. Turgeon stated that by joining the network, the committee would receive technical support to address issues identified by the committee.

 

Chair Hobart asked if there was any funding needed. Turgeon replied that there is no funding required, only support from the Board and a letter of support.

 

            On motion of Gallant/Cunningham, the Board voted 5 – 0 to approve joining the Global Network of Age-Friendly Communities.

 

     B.   Act on Pole Permit Application

 

The Manager stated that this is the pole permit application that he notified the Board about on March 3rd. CMP was in a hurry to move a pole on Center’s Point Road because of the construction project. Three Board members reviewed the application and approved it with signatures; however, it still needs formal approval from the Board.

 

            On motion of Gallant/Tourtelotte, the Board voted 5 – 0 to approve the Pole Permit for Center’s Point Road for Fairpoint Communications as presented.

 

C.  Act on Office Fee Schedule

 

The Manager stated that the Board has the authority to set fees for various services in the Town Office that are not covered by any ordinance. These services include copying various documents, faxing documents and notary services. He provided a draft fee schedule and recommends the Board adopt the fee schedule. The Board had no questions or comments.

 

On motion of Cunningham/Gallant, the Board voted 5 – 0 to approve the Office Fee Schedule as presented.

           

6.         Town Manager’s Report

 

            The Manager stated that the Maine Department of Transportation provided a letter stating that they used new technology available from the University of Maine to perform a more detailed analysis of the bridge on Route 24 that was scheduled for a 15 ton weight limit restriction. The additional analysis led MDOT to not post the bridge with a weight limit.

 

            The Manager stated that the MSAD #75 finance meeting with Select Boards and town officials was scheduled for tonight at 6:30 p.m. Unfortunately, this meeting went long. However, he received the information from the business manager and noted that the proposed local share increase of the MSAD #75 budget for Bowdoinham is approximately $200,000. The Manager will attempt to get more details from the school district and will forward that information to the Board. That size of an increase will increase the tax rate by approximately $0.86.

 

            The Manager stated that he has submitted his proposed municipal budget for fiscal year 2015 to the Finance Advisory Committee. He also provided copies to the Board. The proposed budget sees a very small increase, but also proposed using $25,000 less from undesignated fund balance as directed by the Board to begin reducing the amount being used. After the budget is reviewed by the Finance Advisory Committee, it will be presented to the Select Board on April 22nd.

           

7.         Select Board Member’s Request for Agenda Items for Next Meeting – None

 

8.         Announce Future Select Board Meetings

A.  March 25h – Regular Meeting

B.   April 8th – Regular Meeting

           

9.         Comments from Select Board Members – None

           

10.       Comments from the Public – None

           

11.       Adjourn

 

            The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 6:58 p.m.

 

 

                                    Select Board                                                                                                   

                                    Town of Bowdoinham, Maine   Brian Hobart, Chair

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                M. Theresa Turgeon, Vice-Chair

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                Wendy Cunningham

 

Respectfully Submitted,

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                Kathleen Gallant

William S. Post, Town Manager

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                Douglas Tourtelotte