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February 17, 2012

Sidney, Skowhegan split on pipeline TIFs

Voters in Sidney rejected a tax break for Kennebec Valley Gas Co.'s pipeline proposal, while Skowhegan residents gave a deal there overwhelming approval.

Sidney residents at a special town meeting Wednesday voted 172-119 against a tax increment financing agreement for the proposed natural gas pipeline, according to the Morning Sentinel. During debate before the vote, residents raised questions about safety, environmental impact and residential access to natural gas. Kennebec Valley Gas proposed installing nine miles of pipeline through the town. Following the vote, Rich Silkman, a partner with the company, said it will consider altering the pipeline's proposed path.

Meanwhile, about 50 people in Skowhegan on Tuesday approved a TIF that would return 80% of new property taxes to Kennebec Valley Gas over 10 years and 60% for another five years. The project's proposed annual tax bill is $72,380, according to the paper.

Kennebec Valley Gas has proposed building a 56-mile, $80-million-dollar pipeline from Richmond to Madison and needs TIFs from all 12 communities to make the project financially feasible, the company has said. The company has received final TIF approvals from six communities.

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