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Presque Isle officials looking for ways to improve downtown

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:43 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

City officials are looking for ways to fund improvements in downtown Presque Isle. NewsSource 8's Kathy McCarty speaks with the city manager and has more on what's planned.

The Presque Isle City Council has set into motion plans for the creation of a TIF District downtown. City Manager Martin Puckett says before the state will approve a TIF District, city officials must state how funds captured in the TIF will be used.

“With a downtown TIF, we have to come up with a plan to submit to the state for acceptance. So it looks at the future of the downtown and identifies projects that we want to use the TIF funds - the funds that come from the TIF District, the tax-sheltered money - what projects we want to do. So what is our vision for the downtown,” says Martin Puckett.

Puckett explained in a TIF - or Tax Increment Financing District - taxes from new development are captured in a fund that are then used for specific purposes, such as improvement projects. He says there are a number of projects that city officials would like to see done, but funding hasn’t been available through normal budgeting procedures.

“Some things that we have identified obviously were the sidewalks improvements, signage improvement, lighting, traffic design, really looking at the traffic lights - identified some of the areas that we want to improve,” he says

Other issues include pedestrian and bicycle safety, recreational opportunities, and beautification. Council invites the public to join the discussion at their next meeting.

“What we’re trying to do is get this in before - prior to March, so we have a timeline that we want to try to get these things done. So that’s why we’re gonna have a - have it on the agenda for next meeting to submit - get input, to see what else the public thinks for identifying for these issues,” says Puckett.

The lifespan of a TIF, on average, is 20 years, with downtown TIFs going longer than that. Puckett says the real benefits of TIFs is they help stabilize the tax rate.

Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

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