2018-09-14 / Letters

TIF referendum is common sense for the town of Scarborough

To the editor,

In November, 2014, Scarborough residents voted in a referendum to approve issuing bonds for a $585,000 fire engine. Since then, we have also voted to approve bonds for a $687,000 fuel station and a $20 million public safety building. All of these referendums were held because the town charter requires a vote to approve issuing bonds for an item that costs $400,000 or more.

Why does the charter require such a vote by the residents? Because it makes sense for the town residents to have the ultimate say in major financial commitments that will need to be paid back over a 10- to 30-year period.

The town is now considering a major financial commitment of $150 million or more of future taxpayer funds in connection with the Scarborough Downs TIF/CEA (tax increment financing/credit enhancement agreement). This is a 30-year agreement. It is also the largest financial commitment the town has ever made.

Shouldn’t the same principle of a public vote apply to the TIF/CEA as applies to the much smaller bond issues we are routinely asked to approve? Please contact the town Council members and tell them we need a referendum on any TIF/CEA. Also, please attend the town council TIF workshop scheduled for Sept. 19. We need to vote on Scarborough’s future.

Steve Hanly

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