Houlton voters approve TIF project

Posted June 13, 2012, at 9:52 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — Voters on Tuesday gave the okay to a substantial project to extend water and sewer service on a section of U.S. Route 1 known as North Road.

Town officials said Wednesday that 336 residents voted to spend $1.6 million in tax increment funding to extend water and sewer lines on the roadway, which was designated a few years ago as a tax increment financing development district, or TIF. That beat out the 103 residents who were opposed to the idea.

Tagged as an economic development device, TIF aims to enhance and entice investment in a specific portion of a town. Establishment of TIF zones helps stimulate economic development, guard or create jobs and encourage investment to bolster business growth. The proceeds from such activity can be used for development projects.

North Road has blossomed over the past decade into the town’s major economic corridor, and business owners in the area came before the council a number of times asking them to extend water and sewer services for their benefit. The town saw a need, but did not have the money to do it until they designated North Road as a TIF district and forged an agreement with the Houlton Water Co. that began the extension process in 2011.

Last year, the Houlton Water Co. expanded sewer and water service up to 331 North St. using some of the TIF district funds for the $425,000 project.

The expansion will bring services from Tractor Supply Co. to just south of Currier Road.

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