BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick Town Council approved the transfer of nearly $692,900 of Tax Increment Financing funds to the Midcoast Regional Development Authority for multiple projects intended to help spur continued economic development at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. 

The funds will be used for capital improvement projects around Brunswick Landing and the Brunswick Executive Airport, including street, sidewalk and parking lot resurfacing, building improvements, vehicle replacement, streetlights, upgrades to the water and electrical distribution systems, taxiway repairs and technology upgrades among others.

Money will also go toward the reimbursement of taxes for “aeronautical uses” in the hangars.

TIFs are a common financing tool used by municipalities to pay for public projects, usually designated for areas of town that are going to see development, according to Julia Henze, Brunswick finance director. 

There are three TIF districts at the former Naval Air Station, Henze said: one around the Brunswick Executive Airport, one around the Molnlycke building and another encompassing essentially the rest of Brunswick Landing. Previously, none of the base was taxable because it was all owned by the Navy. 

TIFs funnel any increased tax revenue in a defined district (like Brunswick Landing) toward specific purposes like infrastructure developments that will help spur economic development, without increasing property taxes across the board. 

All taxes go into a special fund, and the money is split between MRRA and the town, Henze said. 

TIFs also aid the town in sheltering taxable value from state aid formulas, she said, helping Brunswick get more money from the state for education and other services. 

The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority gets 50% of the taxes back, and goes before the council to request some or all of the money for capital improvement projects every year, she said.

The former Naval base was decommissioned in 2011, taking thousands of jobs out of Brunswick. Recent redevelopment efforts by the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority have turned it into a hub for more than 130 businesses and the landing now employs over 2,000 people. Executive Director Steven Levesque predicts they will double that within the next five years. 

The redevelopment authority is experiencing a bit of a building boom, Levesque told the town council Monday night, and has another 250,000 square feet available for development.

 The money will “support investment in critical infrastructure at Brunswick Landing that will support our ability to attract and retain new employers and promote economic growth for the region,” he said in the letter. 

“We are the envy of the country and we are a model of how you should do it,” he added to the council. 

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