City officials amend Northport Avenue TIF district

By Ben Holbrook | Feb 26, 2014

Belfast — Council members approved a handful of amendments to the city's Northport Avenue Tax Increment Financing district Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Belfast's Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge explained to councilors the city amended the Downtown TIF district last year, but due to a heavy workload, there wasn't time to also amend the Northport Avenue TIF district.

The Northport Avenue TIF district is comprised of contiguous properties located along Northport Avenue, Perkins Road and Woodrow Lane.

Kittredge said the Northport Avenue TIF district was created in 2005 in order to extend a sewer line, which in turn allowed Mathews Brothers to expand its facility. A portion of the revenues from the Northport Avenue TIF are being used to pay for a $350,000 general obligation bond the city used to extend the sewer line, Kittredge said.

To date, Kittredge said the Northport Avenue TIF district is running a surplus of about $78,000 since its creation in 2005 beyond what is being paid out for the general obligation bond.

As proposed, the TIF amendments would do three things: the first would allow the city to capture 100 percent of the incremental personal property value in addition to the incremental real property value; allows the council to enter into individual credit enhancement agreements with developers to incentivize particular projects; and allows for revenue from the Northport Avenue TIF to be transferred to the Downtown TIF to help finance projects in that district's development program.

Even though the proceeds from the Northport Avenue TIF could be transferred the Downtown TIF district, City Manager Joseph Slocum noted the money does not have to be transferred.

During a brief public hearing, the only resident to speak to the proposed amendments was Laurie Allen who asked that the council not use Northport Avenue TIF district funds in the Downtown TIF district. Allen also asked for money be spent to address infrastructure issues in the area of Seaview Terrace.

At the conclusion of the public hearing, councilors voted unanimously to approve the proposed amendments to the Northport Avenue TIF district.

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Ben Holbrook
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Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.

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