Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lake Basebegone, or Lake Taxbegone??

(Revised to correct a major error in MRSA citation)

If you’re in the same age bracket as this reporter, you may well remember when daily Bible reading and/or devotions were a staple of American family life.  I certainly do, and I am convinced we are worse off for the loss of that tradition.

That is not our subject today.  Instead, we observe that in the modern age, where governmentality is the driving force in our daily lives, not spirituality, a different form of daily reading is the norm.

Here on Other Side, we are engaged in a ‘Walk Through Maine Statute’ program, in which we are assigned daily readings and then expected to take the passages studied and discuss how they make human existence more ideal. and how Government plays a primary role in such perfection.

Enough preaching.  Today, we only want to give you the specifics of the passages we just read, since they are spot on to our local circumstances here in Brunswick.

First is this, in which Maine Statute tells us that:

An airport authority is a public municipal corporation within the meaning of Title 36, section 651, and the property of the authority is exempt from taxation to the extent provided in that section.

You can find the citation here.

So now, let’s look at Title 36, Section 651, which reads as follows; in particular, focus on sub-paragraph F. which appears to be especially germane to our base redevelopment.

Title 36: TAXATION



Subchapter 4: EXEMPTIONS

§651. Public property

The following public property is exempt from taxation:

1. Public property.

A. The property of the United States so far as the taxation of such property is prohibited under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

B. The property of the State of Maine.

B-1. Real estate owned by the Water Resources Board of the State of New Hampshire and used for the preservation of recreational facilities in this State. [1965, c. 125, (NEW).]

C. All property which by the Articles of Separation is exempt from taxation.

D. The property of any public municipal corporation of this State appropriated to public uses, if located within the corporate limits and confines of such public municipal corporation.

E. The pipes, fixtures, hydrants, conduits, gatehouses, pumping stations, reservoirs and dams, used only for reservoir purposes, of public municipal corporations engaged in supplying water, power or light, if located outside of the limits of such public municipal corporation.

F. All airports and landing fields and the structures erected thereon or contained therein of public municipal corporations whether located within or without the limits of such public municipal corporations. Any structures or land contained within such airport not used for airport or aeronautical purposes shall not be entitled to this exemption. Any public municipal corporation which is required to pay taxes to another such corporation under this paragraph with respect to any airport or landing field shall be reimbursed by the county wherein the airport is situated.

We here on Other Side are not lawyers, by any stretch of the  imagination, but these words would seem to raise some concerns about tax revenues flowing from Kestral occupancy.

Furthermore, we are not the least bit clear on whether the entire MRRA-Kestral relaionship has been ‘sold’ on the premise that as a private sector concern, Kestral would yield property tax revenue to the local community.

Surely we’ll find out in the next day or two.  Here in the offices, we don’t expect the revenue equation to work out in our favor.

And we expect that the language above provides an opening a few miles wide for FLee Bailey to drive his rehabilitation bus through.

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