Limestone residents will vote on tax incentives for the new potato chip factory in Loring

LIMESTONE, Maine — Limestone will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, May 28, to see whether residents will allow the city to enter into a tax incentive agreement with developers planning to build a potato chip factory at the Loring Commerce Center.

In February, Presque Isle-based Taste of Maine Potato Chip Co. announced plans to build a $55 million facility on the Loring campus. Construction is currently expected to begin in July.

Earlier this year, residents gave the green light to three tax increment financing districts on land that Portland-based developer Green 4 Maine owns or plans to own in the coming years.

Taste of Maine's facility will be located on Northcutt Road in the Third TIF District, which will come into effect when Green 4 Maine purchases that district's land, which totals 395 acres. The facility and a nearby solar energy park will cover an area of ​​30 hectares.

TIF districts allow both the city and developers to retain portions of the tax value generated by new business development. Loan enhancement agreements determine how much value the city and Green 4 Maine receive.

On May 28, residents will vote only on whether the Select Board should seek a separate credit improvement agreement that would determine the tax amounts Taste of Maine and the city will receive from the facility.

The special board would have to negotiate the terms of the agreement with Taste of Maine, interim city manager Alan Mulherin said.

The town's special meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 28, at 6 p.m. in the Limestone Community School Auditorium.

On Wednesday, the special committee agreed to also use the special meeting to let residents vote on tax assessor Brandon Saucier's proposed reassessment services for the city. The city has not conducted a full tax reassessment in over 20 years.

Saucier has proposed that the city pay him $129,250 for the reassessment on the condition that there be no more than 1,175 properties. If the total number of parcels exceeds that amount, the city would pay $110 per additional parcel.

In addition, the board authorized Mulherin to prepare a letter of support for the county government that would increase the county's budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year to hire two more sheriffs and one more dispatcher for the sheriff's office.

County leadership wants letters of support from communities that have lost police departments and now rely on the sheriff's office, including Limestone, Mulherin said.

The select board decided to initiate discussions on a proposed citywide ATV ordinance until more was heard from the Limestone TrailHawks ATV club and state officials.

The city must seek approval from the Maine Department of Transportation before potentially designating Main Street for off-highway vehicle use. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Wildlife and Forestry must provide approval for designating city-owned secondary roads as off-highway vehicle-accessible, Mulherin noted.

TrailHawks trail groomer Phil Howard said he had to get approval from several landowners before the club could complete a planned trail to Trafton Lake Campground.

The next regular meeting of the Limestone Select Board will be Wednesday, May 15, at 6 p.m. at the town office, 93 Main St.

Anna Harden

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