North Yarmouth to discuss proposed TIF district

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The town’s first proposed tax increment financing district, set for a Town Meeting vote in April, will be the focus of a public forum Thursday, Jan. 31.

The meeting will be held in the Town Office meeting room, 10 Village Square Road, at 6:30 p.m.

A public outreach forum on the Village Center TIF is to be held at Stone’s Cafe & Bakery (424 Walnut Hill Road) at 10 a.m. Feb. 5. A public hearing could be held at the Town Office at 6 p.m. Feb. 28, but has yet to be scheduled by the Select Board.

The potential TIF would include several properties along Route 9 and Route 115, from about Pea Lane north to Route 231 and east to Oak Hill Road. The nearly 431 acres include 1.64 percent of North Yarmouth’s total 13,702 acres.

State law limits the amount of a municipality’s land that can be placed in a TIF to 2 percent, “unless (the parcels) are contiguous, and then you can have 5 percent,” Town Manager Rosemary Roy explained Jan. 17.

New property tax value – the tax increment – would be created on a parcel within the district’s boundaries when it has been developed or improved. The Stone Post housing development near The Lane, and the now-underway Village View Estates across the street, would be included in the district.

New value created from such projects would be sheltered by North Yarmouth, instead of being added to the town’s state-determined valuation. This sheltering would avoid an increase in Cumberland County’s tax assessment to the town.

The net original assessed value of the district as of April 1, 2018, was $16.5 million, which is expected to increase to about $17.2 million by this April.

“Anything that grows from there will be captured amounts,” which will go into a special fund, Roy said.

That estimated nearly $618,000 increase, multiplied by North Yarmouth’s tax rate of $16.67 per $1,000 of property valuation, would produce about $10,000 in captured TIF funds in the course of that year. The tax rate varies each year.

Those monies, raised outside of property taxes, would have to go toward amenities within the Village Center TIF district, Roy said. They could include recreational trails, street-related improvements like sidewalks and lighting, and capital expenses related to public safety, such as a fire truck.

“The goal is to get these projects done with (TIF) monies, without asking the taxpayers for more dollars,” Roy said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.