September 12, 2013 10:59PM
By Farrah Duffany
SOUTHINGTON — After years of trying to set aside enough money, the town will finally be able to replace the windows at Town Hall with the help of a Neighborhood Assistance Act Grant.
In April, Town Manager Garry Brumback asked the Town Council for authorization to apply for the grant, which tops out at $150,000. In August, the town’s application was approved. The program is administered through the state Department of Revenue Services.
“I’m very happy that we were able to attain the grant,” said Town Councilor John Barry. “It’s something I had brought up three or four years ago and this will certainly save the town money in the winter months for energy costs due to present windows that are not energy efficient.”
Windows at the Town Hall are outdated, cause drafts, and sometimes leak. In 2008, voters rejected plans to renovate Town Hall at referendum. For years later, the town wanted to address some building issues such as the windows, but funding always fell short.
“We had set aside some money, $50,000, to do that and it was woefully short,” Brumback said. “So we applied for the Neighborhood Assistance Act Grant and got it.”
Town Attorney Mark Sciota said the town is in the process of interviewing local companies for the work and has talked to three already.
“The company has to understand the whole process and be able to follow the guidelines” of the grant, Sciota said.
The grant is in the form of a tax credit. With the stipulations in the grant, the town is interviewing companies to see if they are eligible to do the work and qualify for a “dollar for dollar” tax credit, Brumback said.
“You have to pay at least $100,000 in Connecticut state taxes to be able to get anything back,” Brumback said. “If you do $100,000 of work for the town, then you can submit to this program to have (your) taxes reduced by $100,000.”
If more than one company is eligible for the work, then the town will go out to bid, Brumback said. Sciota hopes to recommend a company by the next council meeting. The cost is not yet clear because Sciota is waiting for companies to give quotes.
With the replacement of the windows, the town will choose a style that fits with the character of the building.
“My understanding is the town is receptive to ensure that the windows meet the historical significance of the existing Town Hall,” Barry said.
Brumback said he’s hoping to get the windows replaced before winter comes around, but it will “depend on the mechanics of the grant.”