03-25-2014 Select Board Meeting Minutes

MINUTES

Town of Bowdoinham

Select Board Meeting

March 25, 2014 at 5:00 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 and Kathy Gallant were present.  Board members Wendy Cunningham and Doug Tourtelotte were absent. Staff present included Town Manager William Post and Planning & Development Director Nicole Briand. Also present were Scott Benson from Midcoast Economic Development District, a consultant for the Town, Tom Walling, Wendy Rose, Brant Miller, David Whittlesey, Dean Beckwith, Jack White and Darcie Moore representing the Time Record.

           

2.         Public Hearing

            A.  Public Hearing to hear comments on the Proposed CMP/Riverfront Tax Increment Financing District

 

            Chair Hobart opened the public hearing at 5:00 p.m.

 

            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 2.2 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. Property taxes on the original assessed value of $1.16 million will continue to go to the general fund.

 

            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. 

 

Mr. Benson reviewed two scenarios detailing new tax revenues and uses over the next 20 years if a TIF was not utilized. This scenario shows that approximately 70% of the new tax revenue from the CMP project would go to cover lost subsidies and increased county tax. The second scenario showed that the average annual TIF revenues of $108,108 would go to the TIF account if a TIF is used and 100% of the new value is captured.

 

The next steps include finalizing the draft of the TIF District and Development Program, 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. After this public hearing, there will be some administration work to be done, but there will not be any changes to the development program or menu of projects.

 

Resident David Whittlesey asked if TIF funds can be spent on a project if the costs are more than what is in the development program for that project. Mr. Benson stated that yes, TIF Districts are very flexible, and the numbers in the development program are estimates. New projects could not be added without amending the TIF.

 

Resident Jack White asked what would be gained by the Town if the TIF was not approved. Mr. Benson stated that the estimate for new tax revenue is $2.1 million over 20 years, so the tax rate would potentially be lower, but only 30% would be used to help reduce the rate, because the Town would receive less state revenue for education and revenue sharing and an increase in county taxes.

 

Resident Brant Miller asked if improvements to the water district or water supply could qualify for funding from the TIF District. Mr. Benson stated that typically infrastructure improvements such as that would not qualify; it would need to show an economic improvement. For example, if there was new business constructed in town and water lines needed to be connected to the business, then the project might qualify.

 

Resident Brant Miller asked if there will be sticker shock at the end of the 20 year life of the TIF with an increased assessment. Mr. Benson stated that there will be an overall increase in the valuation of the Town after the 20 year TIF expires, but in this case the power lines depreciate every year, so there will not be a large impact.

           

Resident Wendy Rose, also the chair of the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC), stated that the CDAC gave a lot of consideration for the project and what potential revenue could be used for if a TIF was created. The committee received good input over the past several months from residents and received good guidance from Mr. Benson and the Town staff.

 

Ms. Rose stated that the $1.5 million matching fund for grants would help many different projects that might come up through the next twenty years such as expanding broadband internet service in Town, which would be have economic development potential. The Town’s Economic and Community Development Office has done a great job planning community events that have brought people to town and businesses benefit from these events. TIF revenue can be used t continue some of these one-year events that were created for the recent 250th birthday celebration of the Town.

 

Community and Economic Development Director Briand stated that she sees the creation of this TIF as a great opportunity for the Town to move forward with projects that have been discussed.

 

There being no further comments, Chair Hobart closed the public hearing at 5:46 p.m.

           

3.         Amendments to the Agenda

 

            Chair Hobart stated that item 5.C. would be tabled because more information is expected.

 

4.         Approve Consent Calendar

  1. Meeting Minutes of March 11, 2014

B.   Warrants & Financial Reports:

1.   Treasurer’s Warrant #59 for $77,371.98

 

On motion of Turgeon/Tourtelotte, the Board voted 4 – 0 to approve the Consent Calendar as presented.

 

 

 

5.         Action Items

A.  Act on Resolution Submitting Proposed CMP/Riverfront TIF District to Voters at Annual Town Meeting

 

On motion of Turgeon/Gallant, the Board voted 3 – 0 to approve the Exhibit F of the proposed development plan for the CMP/Riverfront TIF District and submit the TIF proposal to the annual town meeting for consideration.

 

B.   Act on Contract for Live Streaming and On-Demand Internet Streaming of Board and Committee Meetings with Town Hall Streams

 

The Manager stated that the free trial of the internet streaming and recording of meetings expires March 31st. Town Hall Streams has proposed a one-year contract for unlimited recording and streaming of meetings at a cost of $200 per month. There is no cost for the equipment as it is included with the contract. The Manager stated that the Electronic Equipment Reserve Fund has $10,000 available for this purpose, as it was created for recording and broadcasting meetings. If the Board approves continuing to record and live stream the meetings, the Manager recommended that a policy be drafted that will determine what meetings will be live-streamed, as well as who is authorized to download one copy of each meeting, as allowed in the contract.

 

Chair Hobart asked if there were any complaints. The Manager stated that he has heard good comments about the availability of the meetings, and some complaints from committee members that they don’t want to be recorded.

 

On motion of Gallant/Turgeon, the Board voted 3 – 0 to approve the one year contract with Town Hall Streams as presented to be funded from the Electronic Equipment Reserve Fund.

             

            C.  Act on Agreement for Services with the Coastal Humane Society – Tabled

 

            D.  Act on Appointment of Robert Curtis to the Advisory Committee on Aging

 

The Manager stated that there is one vacancy on the Advisory Committee on Aging, and the Committee moved its meeting dates to accommodate Mr. Curtis. The term is for the remainder of a three-year term, ending June 30, 2016.

 

On motion of Gallant/Turgeon, the Board voted 3 – 0 to appoint Robert Curtis to the Advisory Committee on Aging for a term ending June 30, 2016.

 

            E.   Act on Appointment of Election Clerks

 

            The Manager stated that the Board appoints election clerks every two years as recommended by the Town Clerk. The list of election clerks includes four democrats, four republicans and one green independent.

 

            On motion of Gallant/Turgeon, the Board voted 3 – 0 to appoint Leslie Barker, Kim Billings, Nora Bishop, Elaine Diaz, Susan Hemond, Emilie Newell, Stacy Pare, Thomas Walling and Linda Williams as election clerks with terms expiring April 1, 2016.

 

6.         Discussion Items – None

 

7.         Town Manager’s Report

 

            The Manager reported that the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be replacing two large culverts on River Road between White Road and Carding Machine Road in July. MDOT has asked if they can close the road to traffic so that the construction will be about a week. The traffic would be detoured onto Carding Machine Road, to Dinsmore Cross and to White Road. The Board agreed by consensus to allow the road to be closed for construction.

 

            The Manager reported that the Town was inspected by the Bureau of Labor last week. The inspector reviewed all departments over a three day period, and there were some issues that were found, mostly with written programs and training documentation.

 

            The Manager reported that the Finance Committee of RSU 75 is meeting on April 1st at the Bowdoin Central School at 6:30 p.m. for a public budget forum and on April 3rd at 6:00 p.m. at Mt. Ararat High School to finalize the budget. He urged anyone interested to attend these meetings and ask questions about the proposed $200,000 tax increase to Bowdoinham.

           

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

 

9.         Announce Future Select Board Meetings

A.  April 8th – Regular Meeting

B.   April 22nd – Regular Meeting

           

10.       Comments from Select Board Members – None

 

11.       Comments from the Public

 

            Jack White asked if there was any information from the other school budget meetings. The Manager stated that he had not heard anything.

 

            Brant Miller asked if CMP is responsible for repairing road damage. The Manager answered that CMP is responsible for any road damage and they have purchased a bond for Town roads.

           

12.       Adjourn

 

            The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 6:09 p.m.

 

 

                                    Select Board                                                                                                   

                                    Town of Bowdoinham, Maine   Brian Hobart, Chair

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                M. Theresa Turgeon, Vice-Chair

 

 

                                                                                                            Absent                                    

                                                                                                Wendy Cunningham

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                Kathleen Gallant

 

 

                                                                                                            Absent                                    

                                                                                                Douglas Tourtelotte

 

                                                                                   

                                                                                                Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                William S. Post, Town Manager