Neil Pade, the town’s director of planning and community development, talks about the concept of Tax Increment Financing.
Photo by John Fitts
By John Fitts
On Wednesday night, attendees at the annual town meeting took a non-binding vote to support the town’s efforts to create a Tax Increment Financing District Master Plan in hopes of encouraging re-development of the Collins Company complex.
Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is the idea to use some of the additional tax revenues a project would generate and put them back into the project itself or into related area improvements, such as public infrastructure, land acquisition, revolving loans, façade improvements and even technical and marketing expertise. It can often be a multi-year process.
The concept is not new to Connecticut a new state law went into effect Oct. 1, 2015. That legislation gives the town much flexibility in defining a district – or project area – deciding how to use the funds, exploring a host of financing and timing options, setting parameters and more, said Neil Pade, the town’s director of planning and community development.
“It puts the decision-making and the power to control your own fate with the municipalities themselves,” Pade said about the new legislation. “The legislature has left the door wide open for municipalities to have these discussions. Again, it’s surprisingly flexible.”
Recently the town received a $10,000 Preservation of Place grant from Connecticut Main Street Center to help develop a TIF district and Master Plan that would set the parameters on a TIF option for the factory and downtown Collinsville, should the town decide ever to move forward with one. Officials estimate the cost of a consultant to develop the plan between $12,000 and $25,000. The additional funds are expected to come from the Economic Development Agency’s marketing budget.
The town is expected to start seeking proposals later this week and the process will involve hearings and other public input and land-use approval, officials said.
Some of the complex buildings, especially in the rear, are in very poor shape.
Photo by John Fitts
The Collins Company Complex, with its 19 acres and 13 buildings, is currently generating approximately $32,131 in yearly tax revenue, according to town officials. With re-development that potential is closer to $1.47 million annually, according to the presentation Wednesday (Available below).
The fate of the complex is something residents consistently ask about, officials said.
But re-development doesn’t come inexpensively. Construction costs would likely be close to $72 million, Pade said Wednesday.
But TIF gives the town a tool that could spur interest, officials said. Pade said the process of developing the plan would allow the town to bring in someone who can answer the unknowns, talk about the various options and help the town be proactive. Certainly, it’s worth exploring, Pade said.
“Are we willing to take steps to generate that revenue instead of waiting to see what happens?” Pade asked. “I think we need to have that discussion.”
Resident David Sinish praised the presentation and the idea.
“If all goes as projected, then Canton’s going to have the money to do the infrastructure costs we are lacking,” he said. … Continue Reading