Maine town creating 3 TIFs to reconnect downtown to waterfront & grow economy

Yarmouth, Maine has determined that establishing three tax increment finance districts would generate $24 million in revenue over a 30-year period.

Councilors on Tuesday spoke with Denise Clavette, the town’s new economic development director, about creating the TIF districts: one downtown, one on the northern half of Route 1, and one on the southern half of Route 1.

They scheduled separate public hearings on each district for Aug. 20.

A TIF district uses future gains in taxes to pay for economic development in an area. When a district is established, the property taxes paid in that area become fixed; the current amount is still paid to the town each year, and any increases are put into the TIF fund.

The town has already taken one step towards establishing a larger downtown TIF district, by agreeing that the village and the waterfront are a cohesive downtown. In order to include the waterfront and marinas in the downtown district, the Town Council first had to officially combine the two areas.

Councilors in a special meeting June 26 approved adopting a study and report from 2012 called “Reconnecting Village to the Working Waterfront.”

The report, by Baker Design Consultants, described ways to make the waterfront a continuation of the downtown area by bringing in new businesses and making the area more pedestrian friendly.

[Photo credit: Town of Yarmouth]

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