2014-05-02 / Community

Selectmen move forward on TIF proposal

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — The Board of Selectmen, on Monday night, continued turning the wheels of the town’s tax increment financing district (Arundel Seasonal Cottages Preserve) and approved the recommendation that $5 million of the total projected taxes captured, approximately $15,076,277, or 25 percent, be allocated into the general fund, allowing the town to access that portion for infrastructural needs.

The board weighed the pros and cons of allocating more into the general fund, a percentage comparison of 35 percent in the general fund and 15 percent to the developer, REM Development.

The board approved the development and TIF district for the Arundel Seasonal Cottages Preserve last year.

The near 260-unit resort-like cottage development would be located on 195 acres between Portland Road and Mountain Road, just north of Fritz’s Tired and Timeless Classics. The size of the units would range from 850 to 1,350 square feet and would be valued, on average, at $220,000. The anticipated captured valuation of the venture, over 25 years, is $1,039,743,271.

In March, Town Manager Todd Shea told the board, “In the 25-year TIF, rather than $10 million going to the business project account and $10 million going into our economic development account ... it would give $10 million to the developer, $5 million to our infrastructure projects, and it would give $5 million back to the general fund.

“So it would actually be like we were receiving a quarter of the tax revenue from that district. It would be going back to the general fund to reduce the mil rate. I think that’s most palatable in Arundel if the board is interested in moving forward and getting this passed.”

Shea likened the allocation of 35 percent to the general fund, and 15 percent to the developer, to the development of new homes in Arundel. “We would capture the value of new homes in the area but we would also be taxed by the state,” he said. “A greater amount in the general funds would allow us the opportunity to get more done in the TIF district.”

“I don’t want to be part of the immediate gratification generation,” said Chairman Thomas Danylik of allocating more in the general fund. “I still think it’s pie in the sky; there are so many contingencies.”

The board discussed priority issues that need addressing and could possibly be funded with the $5 million. Priority issues include a municipal business park for $2 to $6 million, the construction of a sanitary sewer on Route 1 from Kennebunk River to Campground Road/Log Cabin Road for $2 to $3.6 million, or the installment of a sidewalk on Route 1 for $750,000 to $1.2 million.

The list of priorities is subject to change. Shea reminded board members that the initial costs would be covered by the TIF funds, but maintenance and upkeep would be funded by taxes.

It is unknown how long it will take for the project to accrue the projected funds, Shea said.

“We don’t want to spend more money before we have it,” Shea said. “We want to make sure we have a steady stream of revenue before we go into debt.”

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