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03/09/2015

Tax Increment Financing district approved for town center

The Town of Cape Elizabeth is pleased to announce that a Town Center Tax Increment Financing district has been approved by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

The Town Council approved application for a TIF district as one of the recommendations in the Town Center Plan in October. This is the first TIF district approved in Cape Elizabeth. Revenues from the TIF district are designated to fund sidewalks and stormwater infrastructure in the town center.

"Sidewalks in the town center have been on the town's to-do list since the first Town Center Plan was adopted in 1993," said Town Council Chair Kathy Ray.  The 2014 Town Center Plan again recommended sidewalks, but also recognized that lack of funding had hampered construction of the pedestrian-friendly sidewalk network desired in the town center. Creating a Town Center TIF district would begin to generate funds at a time when several town center properties were in transition and likely to increase in value.

Property in the town center currently has a total value of $11.7 million. As this value increases over the next 20 years, the tax revenue collected on the increase in value will be set aside to fund sidewalk and stormwater improvements. While the funds expected are far short of projected sidewalk costs, the TIF funds can be used as cash match to seek grant funding or combined with other funding sources.

"Sidewalks are often requested by town residents and the Town Council has to balance needs with minimal increases in taxes," Ray said. "The TIF creates a way forward to meet resident needs without putting more pressure on property taxes," she said.