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How my comments discussing tiffs vanished from the discussion in the Boothbay Register

It was my plan to follow up the post on the Maine Capital Corporation with a look into the report created in 1983, by the Beldon Hull Daniels firm. However, there are several recent local news stories which I feel it is timely to weigh in on, but just as I was developing that post, I joined a discussion on the Boothbay Register in which my published response to an alternate identity who calls itself Ilandmanz vanished. This is not an uncommon experience with comments on the Boothbay Register, especially if I say something that may embarrass the oligarchy trifecta of Coulombe, Coastal Botanical Gardens Incorporated and the JECD, which I did indeed do, and the selectmen of the town as well. Not socially or politically acceptable in Maine, which is why I write my blog in the first place, to create a place where an alternate view can be expressed.

I did a search and found I could recover my post by accessing my Disqus feed. The two vanished responses to Islandmanz comment were marked as spam. I checked the option that it is not spam and am waiting to see what happens. More than a week since no further action has been taken by whoever may be the moderator for the Boothbay Register Disqus discussion.

 In the meantime, I am publishing the deleted comments here.

I am responding to the post by Ilandmanz, which starts out with the words:

Islandmanz: The fact that you think the roundabout is the generator of income for the TIFF in that zone begins and ends any debate on your understanding of TIFF financing. The income generator is the developed property: the Country Club.
By "begins and ends the debate" does he mean that my comments will now be dissapeared from the public forum?

Note that if what Islandmanz claims is true, it also means that reconfiguring the traffic so that it leads from Coastal Botanical Gardens, via the roundabout, directly to Coulomb's properties, while causing a potential wait time for those exiting the Harbor, increases the property value of Coulombe Village and Country Club and its restaurant, justifying the increase in property tax income, needed for tiff financing. This is a permanent change in traffic patterns, but to my knowledge, Coulombe's property was not the designated tiff financing zone, which is also supposed to produce the increased property taxes.

§5265. Tax increment financing
1. Captured assessed value.  The municipality may retain all or part of the tax increment of a tax increment financing district for the purpose of financing the development program. The amount of tax increment to be retained is determined by designating the amount of captured assessed value to be retained. When a development program for a tax increment financing district is adopted, the municipal legislative body shall adopt a statement of the percentage of captured assessed value to be retained in accordance with the development program. The statement of percentage may establish a specific percentage or percentages or may describe a method or formula for determination of the percentage. The municipal assessor shall certify the amount of the captured assessed value to the municipality each year.
1993, c. 671, §2 (NEW) .]

My first response, in chronological order, follows the shorter one I published the following day, which also disappeared within minutes of being published. I believe that Islandmanz is the person marking my comments as spam.

The two comments, marked as spam, are followed by another comment I made previously in response to a user called reed1v. That comment is pending and so Islandmanz's comment displays in response to reed1v, while mine does not.  I am tempted to mark Islandmanz's post as spam but I do not think that is fair play.

Addressing a national crisis locally: Can the Boothbay region solve its housing issues?

Mackenzie Andersen

Mackenzie Andersen  islandmanz  21 hours ago

Detected as spam Thanks, we'll work on getting this corrected.

You are mixing apples and oranges. You cannot conflate Coulombe’s role in financing a DOT project with paying property taxes to the town as a designated tax increment financing district according to §5265. Tax increment financing, section 1. To my knowledge, there was no tax increment financing district identified when the roundabout was sold to the townspeople, in order to obtain the necessary public approval for changing a public roadway. Instead, local politicians denied the roundabout had anything to do with Coulombe. If Coulombe’s development project is the tax increment financing district there is supposed to be an identifiable increase in the captured asset value of that district due to the changes in the roadway and an agreed upon percentage which is retained by the town as an increase in property taxes- and that is separate from Coulomb’s participation in the DOT financed public roadway. The principal and interest of the loan the town floated to pay its share of DOT roundabout costs are supposed to be derived from increased property tax revenues generated via the designated tax increment financing district pursuant to the State’s tiff increment financing statute. If they are conflated to be the same thing, then that leaves the cost for one-third of the DOT financed roundabout project unaccounted. This is my layman’s understanding of what is written in the State’s tax increment financing and DOT laws.
And no, I am not advocating that the town use tiffs to finance housing of any sort.
Mackenzie Andersen

Mackenzie Andersen  islandmanz  a day ago

Detected as spam Thanks, we'll work on getting this corrected.

You talk in circles. A bond is a debt and so are tiffs. The statute governing tiffs is found here http://legislature.maine.go....
By "tiff financing from the county" I am interpreting you to mean that the Town borrowed money from the county on the basis that the roundabout would generate income for the town through increased property taxes. I do not follow town financing in that great detail so I will take your word for it.
The developer kicked in one third because of the way DOT distributes funds. As it was stated in the Boothbay Selectman's video lobbying for the roundabout, "the DOT can finance projects for 33 cents on the dollar", or in other words, communities must finance 66 cents on the dollar to qualify for State Department of Transportation funding. It was Coulombe who wanted the roundabout. That is why you are identifying Coulombe's development as the "captured assessed value." of the roundabout. Since the seventies, the Maine legislature has set practically everything up as public-private relationships, justifying it as "leveraging additional funding" but it can also be called government by and for special interests- or the popular term of the day- government by oligarchy. MaineDOT’s Business Partnership Initiative is a one-third state, two third business/municipal. Coulombe just took advantage of that to achieve reconfiguring the roadway to his advantage and liking.
Wendy Wolf, spokesperson for the JECD, stated in this newspaper that the roundabout was not a referendum on Coulombe, it was "a traffic Issue". The town selectmen sold "the traffic issue" as a safety issue in the video they produced to lobby for the approval of the tiff financing by public referendum. Without the approval by the public referendum, the town would not have received state funds to finance one-third of the roundabout, A private developer cannot make changes to public roads independently, even if he finances the whole thing himself. Public approval is required. The roundabout was sold to the public as a safety issue.
Coulombe was developing the golf course and had plans for the shopping village before the road was reconfigured. It is no big secret that the way things work in practice is not how they are presented in rhetoric. There was no tiff district defined beyond the town of Boothbay. Coulombe was doing his thing, regardless of the roundabout, but he wanted it as part of his "vision". The public was told one had nothing to do with the other as part of the selling campaign. To win public approval, it had to be sold as a traffic safety issue.
I am not advocating for public housing. It is set up by Maine State Housing as economic stagnation, not economic development, but the function of municipal government is not economic development except for that which is authorized by the Home Rule Amendment of the Maine Constitution, which grants- municipalities the authority to finance industrial buildings with public bonds approved by municipal referendums by the inhabitants of the municipality. So Coulombe's private project cannot be the "captured assessed value." of a municipal tiff financing district, because that argument is an economic development argument- not constitutionally authorized. The municipal authority for economic development is set up as simple nuts and bolts terms by the Maine Constitution, not economic development theory. It does not accommodate obtuse theories such as developing a shopping mall at the center is dependent upon reconfiguring the roadway. That makes no sense that can be established on rational terms. It is a frivolous argument.
Mackenzie Andersen

Low-income housing via Maine Housing is privately owned and financed through Maine Housing bonds and federal grants but not via state general funds, or municipal funds. Privately owned low-income housing pays property taxes and the cost of its own construction and maintenance just like any other privately owned property. The town does not pay the cost.

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