Sunday, May 18, 2008

Deal in the wind for TransCanada

Morning Sentinel

Staff Writer


FARMINGTON -- Franklin County residents can hear tonight about a proposed tax break for TransCanada's wind farm project.

The company's $220 million effort near the Canadian border will be in the spotlight at 6 p.m. upstairs in the Franklin County Courthouse on Main Street.

The details of the tax-increment financing program will be unveiled by the county's consultant, Gregory Mitchell of Eaton Peabody Consulting Group. The public is invited to comment and suggestions could be incorporated into the draft proposal, said Commissioner Gary McGrane of Jay.

A formal public hearing is set for May 29.

The TIF proposal presented Thursday will include the percentage of the wind farm's annual $1.1 million property taxes that would be returned to the company for reinvestment into the project for the next 20 years.

The county would also allowed to keep part of the property taxes to use for economic development projects in Franklin County's unorganized territory.

The draft agreement will also lay out the proposed economic development projects for the unorganized territory that the county can undertake with TIF revenues.

Commissioner Gary T. McGrane of Jay on Tuesday declined to specify the details of the deal before the meeting because some issues are still being worked out.

"We need to capture those tax resources and we are taking into consideration the taxpayers, Franklin County and TransCanada," he said. "We want to give everyone a piece of the package."

Some town officials in earlier meetings questioned a TIF's benefit to towns outside the unorganized territory. Without the tax deal, the project would reduce county taxes. With a TIF, taxes remain about the same.

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