2014-06-20 / Front Page

Voters OK new TIF district

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — Residents approved a tax increment finance (TIF) district last Wednesday between Mountain Road and Route 1 where the Arundel Seasonal Cottages resort will be built.

The approved location of the TIF district is approximately 195 acres in the Business Industrial District Zone. REM Development, the Massachusetts-based development team headed by Joe Paolini, will construct 259 seasonal cottages during the next seven to 10 years, according to the municipal document.

The creation of a TIF district, said Town Manager Todd Shea, is “one of the only mechanisms that a municipality has to give some incentive to the developer to bring their development to the town.”

Said Shea, “The parcel of land is valued at approximately $712,000 for the portion of the property that is being proposed for TIF development. For a full build out in the future, there’s a potential for a $58 million value.”

Shea, who addressed a public forum preceding the annual meeting Wednesday, said, “What the development plan will do for the town of Arundel is, the town will still generate the revenues that are collected on those properties, but there will be a 75 percent sheltering of that valuation.

“The sheltered portion will be spent between the developer (67 percent) and 33 percent would go in to the economic development program for the town of Arundel, which would give us the potential to possibly do sewer projects along Route 1.”

Other projects to be potentially subsidized by the sheltered portion include sidewalks along Route 1, a revolving business loan or grant program or an economic development program. The list is not set in stone, Shea said.

Town PlannerTad Redway told those present at the meeting, “The town incurs no liability whatsoever it has no commitments in any way, shape or form, any other financial commitments other than the arrangement on the valuation that is generated by the developer.”

Resident Melanie Mitchell asked about the jobs the seasonal resort would create: “Is it going to be a temporary employment thing, putting people to work? Or is it going to be a long-term thing, are we going to be able to employ people for a long time? I think we should be utilizing every single piece that the TIF offers us.”

Jim Damicis who spoke on behalf of Paolini, reported that 23 full-time, permanent positions would be created: “Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but that actually would be a fairly large Arundel business compared to how many businesses you have in town and so forth.

“During the construction phase there will be a lot of additional jobs. And to the extent possible and feasible, we’re committed to using local contractors during the development phase.”

“This kind of project, besides not creating any expenditures for the schools, will allow the revenues to be used for economic development,” Damicis said. “So, if you want to market and start to do the kinds of things that will create agricultural districts or local markets for that, this money could be used for that if that’s what the town decided to do.”

In addition to added jobs, Redway reminded residents the seasonal resort would likely bring a different demographic of people who will likely have different needs than yearround residents.

“What this project will do, besides developing an area that’s so far been extremely costly to develop, it will bring in a new population of people, a population of people that will spend their money in Arundel, that will help support existing businesses and help generate new businesses in Arundel to meet their specific needs.”

Several said they had concerns about Paolini and his team backing out halfway through the development process. Paolini concluded the forum by assuring townspeople that, “I can guarantee you that the group that’s doing this work, including myself, are committed to it. And it will be one of the most magnificent projects that you will see when it’s starts and when it gets completed.”

For more information on the Arundel Seasonal Cottages TIF district, visit www.arundelmaine.org.

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