WEX win for Scarborough

To the editor,

The Wex move to Scarborough is a great step forward for the town. Hats off to Downs developer Crossroads Holdings, Town Manager Tom Hall, Council Chair Paul Johnson and others for successfully making the pitch to Wex to establish a 1,200 worker operations center in the Downs area.

This will serve as a catalyst for other businesses to follow the Wex lead and create even more local jobs. Young Scarborough residents will have the sort of job opportunities that will keep them in their town or bring them home after college.

The town’s tax base will be enhanced by Wex and other new businesses serving the needs of Wex employees and act to potentially stabilize the property tax burden on current residents.

Many other towns competed for the Wex development and most offered more generous tax incentive packages than Scarborough, but other intangibles balanced the Wex decision in our favor. The modest tax incentive package contained in the tentative Scarborough-Wex agreement should be supported by the taxpayers and the Town Council. The benefits of Wex coming to Scarborough are all positive in the long term.

Steve Hendrickson
Scarborough

Downs should stand on its own

To the editor,

It is time to let the Downs project stand on its own two feet. In Council meeting after Council meeting, the Downs developers and some Town Councilors chanted that there would be “no risk” to the Town if we gave an $81 million tax break. This “public/private partnership” tax break was supposed help to ensure success of the Downs project. Yet, here we are again, giving another tax break to another wealthy developer — a new CEA for $2.25 million for a new Wex building on the Downs property.

Who’s next in line for a tax break? The planned Edge Sports Facility? The planned hotel? The planned supermarket? We need to stop the corporate welfare. Let the Downs developers use the existing $81 million tax break to entice new businesses. That’s what it’s for.

Scarborough is one of the fastest growing and most desirable towns in all of Maine. We shouldn’t have to pay businesses to come here. They should be paying us. Town leaders need to have more confidence and faith in what we have to offer in Scarborough. If a new business decides not to come here, it’s their loss — another business will take their place.

Brian Kanode

Scarborough

What the WEX deal looks like beyond the headlines

To the editor,

Should the Town of Scarborough give WEX $2,250,000 to move from South Portland to the best location in the State?

With much fanfare the WEX move to The Downs was announced by the developers (Risbara and Michaud) on Thursday Jan. 16. The Town Council had a workshop on the project on Tuesday the 22nd. The Council also had a first vote on approving a Credit Enhancement Agreement (tax refund) which will return, over 15 years, $2,250,000 to WEX AND another $4,730,000 to the developers; too bad you didn’t know about it.

Here’s an example what the tax refund means on a more practical level. John Q Taxpayer owns a median priced Scarborough home ($360,000) and paid $5,292 in property taxes for 2019-20. The Town keeps $5,292, 100 percent to use to pay for police and schools.

If WEX had the same valued property, at The Downs with the proposed tax refund, paying the same taxes of $5,292, the Town would be returning $3,064 to WEX and the developers, leaving only $2,228, 42 percent for Town expenses.

WEX considers The Downs a superior location when compared to the many other sites it reviewed. While WEX may be a good addition to our Town, do we have to pay them over $2 million to move to the best possible location in the State?

Let your Town Council know what you think.

Call them or email them at [email protected] Attend the Town Council meeting on Wednesday Feb. 5, 7 p.m. at Town Hall and let your voice be heard.

Larry Hartwell

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