Downtown TIF project worth considering, manager says

7 years ago

Presque Isle officials are thinking about using the state’s “tax increment financing” program to help boost the city’s downtown revitalization efforts.

Presque Isle City Manager Martin Puckett and members of the Downtown Revitalization Committee have been discussing the possibility of using the public-private economic development tool known as TIF in downtown Presque Isle.  

Puckett and members of the committee recently attended a presentation of TIFs by the Economic Development Council of Maine, and city councilors will be discussing the idea on Wednesday, July 5.

The Maine TIF program could “be used to encourage growth and fund future beautification projects,” and there are many different options the city could pursue under the program, Puckett said.

Tax increment financing is a state economic development program that municipalities can use to attract private developers and investment for certain projects or geographic locations. The program allows new tax revenue from a development project to be used in financing additional public or private investment over the course of up to 30 years.

Since the Maine TIF program began in the 1980s, more than 300 municipalities have used TIF projects, including Caribou, Madawaska, Mars Hill and Presque Isle.

Presque Isle has used the program three times in connection with projects involving the Maine Mutual Group, Lowe’s and the Hampton Inn. In the most recent deal with the Hampton Inn, some of the tax revenue from the new hotel was devoted to extending sidewalks on north Main Street, near the hotel and the city’s busy stretch of retail stores.

Puckett said the city is “in the initial phase of discussing a TIF” for downtown and planning to gather input from city councillors and the public as the process continues.

“We haven’t talked about what we want to do, but it is of interest,” he said. “We’re looking to help revitalization in Presque Isle and creating development downtown.”