2018-11-09 / Letters

Only one chance to Downs decision right

To the editor,

As of Nov. 5, the town council agenda for Nov. 7 included authorizing a special meeting for Nov. 14 to swear in newly-elected officials and to set the date for authorization of the TIFD and CEA for Wednesday, Nov. 28.

Sadly, the CEA – Credit Enhancement Agreement - with the Downs only needs the approval of the town council. Hence, the only way to let our elected officials know of our concerns is via public hearing and/or contacting them via phone calls, emails or letters.

Much emphasis is being put on the need to increase our non-residential tax base. We are being told that by requiring the Downs to meet certain criteria the CEA will help to accomplish this.

Based on the CEA as currently drafted, the Downs will receive for the first 10 years, 40 percent of the additional tax revenue generated by developing the area. No mention of required any non-residential requirements. Hence, the Downs is guaranteed 40 percent for the first 10 years. The next 10 years, even if the requirements for non-residential development are not met, the Downs will receive 25 percent of the additional revenue.

Hence, the Downs CEA with the town guarantees a 40 percent return for the first 10 years and 25 percent for the next 10 even if the non-residential criteria is not met.

Is this a good business decision for our town officials?

The CEA does not provide for a community center. Instead, it contains a provision for the town and the developer to work together within the next five years to determine if a community center is feasible.

If so, the town would then be required to enter into another agreement to either buy land from the Downs to build a community center or have them build one which the town would then rent from them.

Section 8.1 of the proposed CEA provides that the provisions of the CEA are transferable upon a sale of all or a portion of property.

Hence, should the current developers, long time Scarborough residents, opt to sell some or all of the Downs property, the provisions of the CEA would transfer to the new owners.

Without a doubt, developing the former Downs property is an opportunity of a lifetime for our town. We only get one chance to do it right. Is this it?

Joan Jagolinzer
Scarborough

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