ORONO, Maine — Town officials are considering applying for the creation of a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, district that would benefit the downtown area, and they are seeking thoughts and suggestions from residents Thursday night during an open meeting, town planner Evan Richert said.
The meeting, which will go from 6 to 8 p.m. at the municipal building, will be open to the public. Light refreshments will be available.
Representatives from the town and the Orono Village Association will present a draft of a proposed development plan for residents to review. The development plan will be revised based on the input received Thursday, then sent to the Town Council for its consideration.
TIFs allow municipalities to capture taxes from increased property values in certain districts, then reinvest the captured taxes in economic development, capital projects or transit.
Residents will be asked Thursday to share their vision for Orono’s downtown, and thoughts on priorities for how captured funds should be spent.
Several changes to Orono’s downtown landscape, including the recently refurbished Orono dam and the fire that destroyed the Katahdin building at the intersection of Main Street and Bennoch Road, prompted the interest in creating a TIF district.
“In the normal course of events, Orono now would look wealthier this year than we did last year, compared with other communities in the state, so the state provides less aid to education, less revenue sharing, and the county taxes us more,” Richert said. “This provides a shelter so that tax that is raised can be reinvested for legitimate economic development purposes. … There are a lot of needs to support the vitality of our downtown.”