Limestone residents will vote on tax incentives for new Loring potato chip plant

4 weeks ago

LIMESTONE, Maine – Limestone will hold a special meeting Tuesday, May 28 to see if residents will allow the town to pursue a tax incentive agreement with developers planning to build a potato chip plant at the Loring Commerce Center.

In February, Taste of Maine Potato Chip Co., based in Presque Isle, announced plans to build a $55 million plant on the Loring campus. Construction is currently expected to begin in July

Earlier this year, residents gave the green light to pursue three tax increment financing districts on land that Portland-based developers Green 4 Maine own or hope to own in future years.

Taste of Maine’s plant will be located on Northcutt Road within the third TIF district, which will go into effect if Green 4 Maine purchases that district’s land, which totals 395 acres. The plant and a nearby solar energy farm will take up 30 acres.

TIF districts allow both the town and developers to receive portions of the tax value generated through new business development. Credit enhancement agreements will determine how much value the town and Green 4 Maine will receive.

On May 28, residents will only be voting on whether the Select Board should pursue a separate credit enhancement agreement spelling out the tax values that Taste of Maine and the town will receive from the plant.

The Select Board would need to negotiate the terms of the agreement with Taste of Maine, said Interim Town Manager Alan Mulherin.

The special town meeting will occur Tuesday, May 28 at 6 p.m. at the Limestone Community School auditorium.

On Wednesday, the Select Board agreed to use the special meeting to also have residents vote on tax assessor Brandon Saucier’s proposed town revaluation services. The town has not completed a full tax revaluation in over 20 years.

Saucier has proposed that the town pay him $129,250 for the revaluation, on the condition that there be no more than 1,175 real estate parcels. If the total parcels exceed that amount, the town would pay $110 per additional parcel.

In other business, the board authorized Mulherin to draft a letter of support for county government increasing the county’s 2024-2025 fiscal year budget to hire two more sheriffs and one more dispatcher for the sheriff’s office.

County leadership wants letters of support from communities who have lost police departments and now rely on the sheriff’s office, including Limestone, Mulherin said.

The Select Board decided to table discussions on a proposed town-wide ATV ordinance until learning more from the Limestone TrailHawks ATV club and state officials.

The town needs to get Maine Department of Transportation’s approval before potentially designating Main Street for ATV use. Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry needs to grant approval for designating town-owned side roads as suitable for ATVs, Mulherin noted.

TrailHawks trail groomer Phil Howard said he needs to obtain permission from several landowners before the club can finalize a proposed trail to Trafton Lake Campground.

The next regular Limestone Select Board meeting will be held Wednesday, May 15 at 6 p.m. at the town office, 93 Main St.