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Water Works deal: City and Auburn benefit

The Town of Auburn and Manchester’s Water Works have entered into a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that will benefit both the town and the city.

Water Works owns 7,200 acres of watershed in Auburn, which the town says is about a quarter of all the land in Auburn. Since the 1990s those taxes have risen to about $680,000 a year. Water Works planned to sell the land to a non-profit conservation group rather than continue paying such a hefty bill.

That move would have meant a loss of tax revenue for Auburn and loss of control of the land for Manchester. It was in both parties’ interests to work out a better deal, and thankfully they did.

The new arrangement will see the tax bill fall over the next five years to $300,000, then be tied to the inflation rate. Manchester gets substantial tax relief and Auburn gets a steady, predictable revenue stream. Nice deal.

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