SCARBOROUGH — The Town Council voted Wednesday to give owners of a Haigis Parkway business development a one-year extension on sewer assessment fees.
After South Portland-based Fairchild Semiconductor pulled out of an agreement a year ago to build a new headquarters at Gateway Square on Haigis Parkway, developers Barry Feldman and Gene Beaudoin scrambled to meet financing criteria to continue the business park.
In March, they were granted an amendment by the town to their credit enhancement agreement, which extended their tax increment financing agreement to 2028. At the time, they had completed the infrastructure for Gateway Square but were faced with an undisclosed amount of construction loans that were scheduled to come due the next month.
But on Wednesday, Feldman asked for a year’s postponement of the sewer assessment of nearly $57,000 under the Haigis Parkway Sewer Assessment Ordinance. The payment was due Oct. 15, but Feldman received a 45-day extension to pursue the postponement.
Under the original schedule, the Gateway assessment is about $57,000 a year, with the final payment due Oct. 15, 2015. The deferment would push the due date for the final payment out a year to 2016.
“By giving us a one-year reprieve, that will help us immeasurably,” Feldman told the council.
Councilors expressed support for the request, but had some concerns about setting a precedent and about what Feldman and Beaudoin might seek in the future.
“With all the things we’ve done, why can’t you make $57,000?” Councilor Carol Rancourt asked. “My issue is equality for everyone.”
Councilor Ron Ahlquist said he’d rely on Town Manager Tom Hall’s recommendation that it is “in the town’s best interest” to grant the postponement. But Ahlquist added he was also concerned it would “open the door” for other people to request deferments and that the developers “might be back here in a few months” asking for more.
The most significant objections were from Councilor Karen D’Andrea, who asked for more time to discuss the request before making a decision. She referred to the council’s decision last March to amend the TIF.
“I sort of feel we’re the ‘Bank of Scarborough’ at this point,” she said.
In the end, acting on a suggestion Rancourt made, the council voted 5-1 to defer the principal portion of the assessment, about $47,800, to October 2010 while requiring the developers to make a monthly interest payment. Payments will be deferred a year, with the final payment due October 2016.
Councilors Mike Wood, Richard Sullivan, Judy Roy, Rancourt and Ahlquist voted in favor; D’Andrea was opposed and Councilor Shawn Babine was absent.
Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.