On Aug. 15 the Scarborough Town Council will hold a workshop on the creation of a Downtown Tax Increment Financing District. The council is primed to rush through a large, complex and potentially risky financial transaction that could cause significant property tax increases in the future.
At the most basic level, all a TIF does is allocate some future tax dollars to specific projects. But TIFs sometimes don’t go as planned and property taxes are increased to pay for them. Example: The Haigis Parkway TIF has so far cost taxpayers nearly $3 million in increased property taxes, and counting.
The new Downtown TIF is being proposed by the developers of Scarborough Downs as part of creating a downtown or “main street” for Scarborough, an obsession of some town leaders.
But the real hook for this proposed new TIF is that it will be used to finance a $20 million community center facility for the town. It will be portrayed as being of no cost to the taxpayers; that we’ll be using someone else’s money. Please don’t be fooled by this line. As with lunches, there is no such thing as a free $20 million community center.
Take action now. Contact the councilors and tell them you don’t want to place a “bet” on Scarborough Downs without fully understanding the financial impact of the TIF. Attend the workshop at Town Hall on Aug, 15. Time is short and the time to act is now.