Board talks TIFs and more
Boothbay Harbor selectmen on Monday discussed the possibility of exploring the benefits of a tax increment financing (TIF) district. Selectman Wendy Wolf explained, the economic master plan outlined the possibility of establishing a TIF district so the town can more easily invest in projects.
"One of the things we have a hard time with is understanding the tools that we have at our disposal as municipal officials to make some of the bigger things happen," said Wolf.
Boothbay and Edgecomb both have TIF districts which have enabled projects such as the roundabout.
Board vice-chair Denise Griffin said she is not sure a TIF district would be beneficial as the town would not likely generate enough revenue to kick-start even smaller projects after administrative costs.
"I think the TIF is a great idea if you're a city that gets a lot of extra state funding," said Griffin. "We're not in that situation here in Boothbay Harbor and I'm not sure if the amount of new development is going to be worth the trouble."
Wolf said since the board has only ever looked into the basics of tax increment financing, it might be worth looking into the details and determining if it would be a viable option. Board members agreed and plan to look further.
Board member Mike Tomko suggested asking advice from Camoin Associates' Jim Damicis, author of the plan, which also outlines TIF benefits. "A 'no' is as important as a 'yes.'"
Said Tomko, "Until we identify where and … if we're going down that road, we need to be very careful and choose what we're looking at."
Also Monday, Wolf reported that in the last Joint Economic Development Committee meeting, members discussed the Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor workshop boards of selectmen had on how to advance the economic master plan.
The 70-page report which contains the master plan was discussed only for about 50 minutes, said Wolf. "I think we described this as a toe-in-the-water discussion with our colleagues in Boothbay about what the action plan means for the region, what we think is important to operationalize, and how can we implement the plan."
Wolf said she felt as though the Boothbay Harbor board came away from the meeting with a few agreements including continuing the benefit of working together as a region. Wolf reiterated the JEDC was formed to come up with an economic plan and it has fulfilled its role.
"We need guidance from the select boards about what the priorities are and how we might proceed to operationalize that plan," said Wolf.
"What do we think is the next step and when might it be taken," asked board member Russ Hoffman.
Wolf explained the JEDC wants both boards to have a better sense of their priorities as individual towns and as an entire region. The recommendation from the JEDC is to have a second workshop to look further into the plan and identify at least three priorities important to Boothbay Harbor and two goals important to the region.
"Until we have that information, it's very hard for us to think about an implementation plan," said Wolf.
Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor CSD Board of Trustees vice-chair Steve Lorrain announced the trustees will be starting a series of workshops to discuss projects at the Boothbay Region High and Boothbay Region Elementary school buildings and grounds.
“Accreditation is not in the balance right now, but it will be soon," said Lorrain. "There are some serious structural problems – heating, air conditioning, ducts haven't been cleaned – there's a lot here."
When the school year concludes, BRHS's 62-year-old roof will be replaced, said Lorrain. Handing packets of information to selectmen, he said there are no costs attached to each project yet as priorities must first be set. “There's things that we want to do, things that we should do, and there's things that we have to do."
Lorrain invited selectmen to the workshops. The first is Wednesday, June 20 at 5 p.m in the BRHS library.
"We're starting this now, because it's going to run years probably ... These are all going to have to be categorized, numbered and figured out one by one and fixed accordingly," Lorrain.
The board unanimously approved Eugenia Shepherd’s application to install a piling and a third float at 102 Samoset Road. Son Andrew Shepherd, representing his mother, outlined the reasoning behind the project which would expand the extended Shepherd family’s shared docking space.
Town Manager Tom Woodin announced the next meeting will bring municipal appointments and the new fee schedule. Positions currently open for nominations are one on the budget committee, three on the board of appeals, and two on the port committee.
"Like Uncle Sam, 'We want you' to help run the town," said Wolf. "We welcome your service on any of those committees. All of them are important to the management of the town." The town office and the town website have the application.
On Thursday, July 12, Baker Design Consultants Inc. will present design concepts for the footbridge. Woodin expects the designers to have some aerial, drone footage or imagery in addition to concepts similar to what was presented for the roundabout. The consultants presented concepts for municipal feedback last November. The presentation and discussion are at 6 p.m. in the Boothbay Harbor town office.
Financial officer Julia Latter said the town’s revenue and expenses, year to date, total $7,820,351 and $7,229,863, respectively. The total accounts payable are $3698,929.03 and the bank balance is $2,792,800.27.
The board meets next at 7 p.m. Monday, June 25.