Cheshire considers tax district to spur development in north end

Cheshire considers tax district to spur development in north end

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CHESHIRE — Town leaders are considering a tax district to provide funding for infrastructure in the north end.

Over the years, builders have planned a mall, a retail center and other developments on the land near Interstate 691 but none have come to fruition. Town officials said the creation of a tax district could provide money for infrastructure the area lacks, such as water and sewer.

“It’s another tool for a developer,” said EJ Kurtz, Planning and Zoning Commission chairman. The commission could vote on the tax district as soon as next week.

When a developer builds shops, restaurants or makes other improvements, the taxes on a property go up. In a tax increment financing district, the town can set aside a portion of the increase in taxes to reimburse a developer for infrastructure improvements. The arrangement was created by state statute.

David Pelletier, Economic Development Commission chairman, said the Town Council could structure a tax increment financing deal with a builder to give rebates over a number of years for infrastructure work.

“The council has complete control over the whole process, what type of an agreement would be made with a developer, what it would cover,” Pelletier said. “It’s all controlled by the council.”

The creation of a tax district was recommended by economic development consultants hired by the town. Another consulting firm, Camoin Associates of New York, helped town officials draft a tax district master plan presented to the planning commission last month.

The planning commission must vote on the location of the district but the council would decide the financing, such as the percentage of tax increase that’ll be used to fund land improvements.

Nearly all of the district is between Johnson Avenue and the Southington town line.

Pelletier said there’s no guarantee that a tax increment financing district would draw a developer to the interchange zone, but said it was another tool for economic development coordinator Jerry Sitko. If it’s successful, other areas of town could also benefit.

“It’s been mentioned — maybe the West Main Street area around the Ball & Socket building, maybe we establish one there,” Pelletier said.

The Town Council is also expected to consider the tax district proposal at its meeting next week.

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