Lincoln wind site TIF to help pay for street sweeper, lower property tax rate

Posted March 18, 2012, at 3:41 p.m.
Last modified March 18, 2012, at 5:54 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Tax increment financing money from projects such as First Wind’s Rollins Mountain industrial wind site might help the town purchase a street sweeper it has long needed and also might produce a reduction in town property taxes for the second straight year, officials said.

The Town Council will meet in a special session at 7 p.m. Monday to decide whether to buy a used street sweeper, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.

Public Works Department Director David Lloyd and one of his workers, Reginald Ogden, went to Skowhegan on Thursday to examine a 2007 Allianze 3000/MX or mechanical sweeper. They recommend that the town purchase it. Its price: $95,000, Goodwin said.

“It’s the best buy for our money,” Lloyd said Sunday. “I am pretty confident that this unit would give us eight or 10 years of service without any major problems.”

If bought used, a comparable vacuum model would cost about $165,000, Lloyd said. The factory demo model the town would buy has 5,950 miles and 1,100 operational miles on it.

“The dealer is holding the sweeper until the Town Council has the opportunity to vote on whether or not to purchase this piece of equipment,” Goodwin said in a statement.

The town’s present street sweeper is an antiquated model that has been breaking down for the last several years. Public Works Department workers have repaired it repeatedly but it is in dire need of replacement, Lloyd said.

“A good street sweeper keeps the whole community cleaner. It keeps our rivers and lakes cleaner and the pavement will actually last longer with a good sweeper because you don’t have all that dirt and moisture setting on the side of the road,” Lloyd said Sunday.

If approved, $30,000 of the purchase price will come from the First Wind TIF account, and $5,000 will come from the TIF negotiated among state and town officials and Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC several years ago, Goodwin said.

If school officials propose a budget that has no more than a 2 percent increase and the town budget stays as Goodwin proposes, taxpayers will again see a property tax reduction, Goodwin said.

“Although expenditures increased, revenue from TIF projects has more than offset that increase,” Goodwin said.

This year’s tax rate, 19.86 mills, represents a decrease from 20.12 mills in 2011. Goodwin did not provide an estimate as to how much lower town taxes might fall in the 2012-13 tax year, which begins July 1.

The Budget Committee and Town Council are due to start reviewing the budget at 7 p.m. March 29.

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