2018-08-10 / Letters

Free money for Scarborough, really?

To the editor,

On Aug. 15, Scarborough Town Council will hold a workshop on the creation of a Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.

The town council is primed to rush through a large, complex and potentially risky financial transaction that could cause significant property tax increases in the future.

At the most basic level, all a TIF does is allocate some future tax dollars to specific projects. But TIFs sometimes don’t go as planned and property taxes are increased to pay for them.

Example: The Haigis Parkway TIF has so far cost taxpayers nearly $3 million in increased property taxes, and counting.

The new Downtown TIF is being proposed by the developers of Scarborough Downs as part of creating a downtown or main street for Scarborough, an obsession of some town leaders.

But the real hook for this proposed new TIF is that it will be used to finance a $20,000,000 community center facility for the town.

It will be portrayed as being of no cost to the taxpayers; that we’ll be using someone else’s money.

Please don’t be fooled by this line. As with lunches, there is no such thing as a free $20,000,000 community center.

Take action now.

Contact the town council and tell them you don’t want to place a bet on Scarborough Downs without fully understanding the financial impact of the TIF.

Contact them at scarboroughtowncouncil@googlegroups.com.

Attend the workshop at town hall on Aug. 15. Call town hall at 730-4021 or 730-4030 for the time.

Time is short and the time to act is now.

Larry Hartwell

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