Antrim residents will vote on downtown TIF district

The Antrim Select Board presides over the annual budget hearing on Monday night. From left are Bob Edwards, Chair Michael Ott and Donna Hanson. 

The Antrim Select Board presides over the annual budget hearing on Monday night. From left are Bob Edwards, Chair Michael Ott and Donna Hanson.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 02-14-2024 11:15 AM

Modified: 02-20-2024 9:43 AM


Antrim will start the process of creating a downtown Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district if voters approve two linked warrant articles to be presented at Town Meeting on Thursday evening, March 14.

TIF districts earn revenue for towns by capturing tax funds from increases in property values over a 10-year period. Establishment of a TIF district would reduce the town’s tax obligation to the state, county and school district, which accounts for 65% of the town’s taxes. The first warrant article would give the town the authority to establish a TIF, while the second proposes a more-detailed TIF plan. 

“This is going to take time. The goal is to have a more vibrant downtown, to make it a better experience for customers, better for businesses,” Select Board member Bob Edwards said. “This will benefit all town residents.” 

Edwards said Antrim had attempted to start a TIF district in 2000, but there were issues with the process at the time and the initiative was not completed. 

“The Planning Board brought this back to life. They have spent a lot of time on it, and we would like to move it forward. We’d like to see a very comprehensive plan, and we don’t want to approve a plan until there is funding in place. We would spend the next year working on the  plan,” Edwards said at Monday night’s budget hearing. 

The proposed TIF district would include Main Street  in Antrim from Goodell Park to Maplewood Cemetery, and from  Great Brook School in the west to the Contoocook River in the east. The warrant calls for the creation of a TIF advisory board, to be appointed by the Select Board, to create a “comprehensive and specific development plan for the TIF district.”

Edwards encouraged residents to read all information about the TIF district on the town website, antrimnh.org, and attend the Planning Board presentation on the proposed TIF district to the Select Board Feb. 20. 

Edwards also spoke about a warrant article regarding the lease for The Grapevine Family & Community Resource Center, which rents a building from the town. For the past 20 years, the town has rented the space to The Grapevine for $200 a month. Edwards said that The Grapevine recently applied for a $1 million CDFA Community Center Program forgivable loan, but applicants will not be informed on whether they have received the grant until after Town Meeting. 

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“The rent at The Grapevine depends on whether or not they get approved for the million dollars to make improvements to the building,” Edwards said. “We’re working to come up with a lease that will allow us to revisit the rent after we found out about the grant.” 

Town volunteer Joan Gorga, who applied for a GOFERR  (Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery) grant on behalf of the town, answered questions about a warrant article for $100,000 for repairs to the Gregg Lake boat ramp. Of that amount, $75,000 would be covered by the GOFERR grant. The town beach and parking lot at Gregg Lake are currently  undergoing extensive repairs. 

“We are very careful to keep the boat ramp project separate from the other projects going on at the lake. The grant we received for the boat ramp is to build permeable concrete pads to stabilize the boat ramp,” Gorga said. 

Gorga said the the main source of contamination into the lake is from cars and trailers accessing the boat ramp. The permeable ramps would reduce runoff and limit erosion at the boat ramp

“We are also building rain gardens to capture some of the runoff and keep it out of the lake,” Gorga said. 

Other new expenditures on the warrant include a new sidewalk plow, which can also be used to blow snow and sweep streets; new body cameras and all related equipment for the Police Department; and a Fire Department command vehicle. The Select Board also approved $3,600 for the Antrim Community Board.

The complete Antrim warrant is available by contacting the town offices. The town election is Tuesday, March 12, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Antrim Town Hall Theater. Town Meeting is Thursday, March 14, at 6 p.m. in the Antrim Town Hall Theater.