A special town meeting will be held at the Rockport Opera House on Aug. 27 to consider revising the tax increment financing district on Commercial Street. The select board voted unanimously in favor of holding the meeting on Aug. 13.

The Aug. 27 meeting will seek a vote by residents to amend the TIF district along Commercial Street to add approximately eight properties to the district. A warrant article provided in the packet from the Aug. 13 meeting states that amending the Commercial Street Municipal Development Tax Increment Financing District will help provide new employment opportunities within the town, provide opportunities for economic development and broaden the tax base in Rockport.

According to the select board packet, the acreage within the municipal TIF district would increase from approximately 230 acres to 367 total acres. The town's planning consultant, Bill Najpauer, said that the amendment to the TIF district would also allow for the TIF plan to be expanded by 10 years, and would also include a development plan for the last portion of the Route 1 sewer extension project.

"The development plan or work plan specifically says that the engineering, design and construction of the sewer will be part of the plan so we can use TIF funds for that….We've included a few additional properties in that portion of the Route 1 (Commercial Street) corridor where the sewer will go, to include them in the TIF district," said Najpauer.

Najpauer said that the idea behind adding the parcels of land to the TIF district was that if additional properties were to be built on them, the town would be able to "capture that value and that would be able to go into the TIF fund."

Selectman Ken McKinley said that the fund had been very useful in paying for earlier portions of the sewer project, and town manager Rick Bates said that some surveying and boring or drilling had already been completed on the remaining stretch.

"If the town meeting approves this, it's not approving a bond, that would come at a later date. This action only allows us to extend [the TIF plan], to change the parameters, and then it also allows us to use the money that we're accumulating into the TIF for engineering that will get us into a more solid number for estimating purposes for the bond," said Bates.

"I'm curious about, as Bill had alluded to, what the revenue would be for that stretch [along Commercial Street]," said Selectman Mark Kelley.

Najpauer said that the town had obtained a $250,000 grant for the sewer extension project and there is the potential for an additional grant in the amount of $1 million.

"I think that the real, long-term revenue from this is going to be if we get development [along Commercial Street]. The debt service charges and capital maintenance fees are kind of pennies when it amounts to everything," said McKinley.

The special town meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 27 in the Geoffrey C. Parker meeting room of the Rockport Opera House at 7 p.m.