Monday, December 9, 2013
FARMINGTON — Residents will vote Tuesday night on the proposed downtown tax increment financing district set to fund downtown development projects.
WHEN: 6:30 tonight
WHERE: Farmington Community Center on Middle Street
Voters will first be able to ask questions about the proposed district at the 6:30 p.m. hearing in the gym at the Community Center. The vote will be at 7 p.m. This is the second public hearing over the district.
The proposed tax district encompasses downtown, part of West Farmington and some of the surrounding area.
The proposed tax increment financing district is part of Farmington’s downtown development plan, which is a series of recommendations to promote economic development.
Under the proposal, the town would first assess the value of property in the district. When the value of the property in the district rises, any new taxes raised above the original assessment will go into an account earmarked for downtown development projects. The district would take effect in 2014 and would expire in 2044 unless renewed.
The largest project proposed in the downtown plan is a bridge over the Sandy River, connecting the downtown with West Farmington.
Town Manager Richard Davis said the bridge, estimated to cost $1.65 million, is the largest project in the plan.
Davis said consultant John Holden, at the time acting with Eaton Peabody Consulting Group, suggested the town create the tax district to fund infrastructure projects such as a Sandy River bridge, downtown public restrooms, new streetlights and improved sidewalks.
Five years ago, a group of five residents led the original effort and raised around $12,000.
Davis said the town is interested in building the bridge because it would be an economic advantage to better connect people and businesses. The bridge would be open to foot traffic, as well as bicycles.
The town would need to have $330,000 in available money to file for federal and state financial help in building the bridge, according to the development plan.
Other development projects proposed under the plan include sidewalk improvements and new streetlights.
Residents at the hearing will also vote on whether to renew the town’s other TIF district for Franklin Printing on Wilton Road.
The TIFs latest project funded by the district was for brochures to promote the downtown. The town has entered a contract to pay $3,000 for the brochure design, and Davis predicted at the time that the project will cost less than $10,000 after printing.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252