By JEN CARDINES
The Town Council approved the proposed modifications for the tax abatement language during their July 10 meeting. Prior to the changes, the document was only valid until July 1, 2017, whereas the new language extends to 2019.
Councilors made the abatement plan retroactive to any business that held a temporary certificate of occupancy when the vote was made. This qualifies those businesses for the abatement.
With the tax abatement program, companies are exempt from paying 100 percent of their property tax for the first three years, 75 percent in the fourth year, and 50 percent in the fifth year. Their sixth year in business is when they would pay all of their property tax to the town.
Applications for the program must be made through the Economic Development department. The Town Council can approve or deny applications.
The motion passed unanimously with a 7-0 vote. Councilors Michael Riccio and Ed Pocock III were absent from the meeting.
During the meeting, the council also approved tax abatements for Quantum Biopower and Cava Restaurant. Democratic councilor John Barry questioned why Cava, a stand-alone restaurant, was being considered for an abatement when abatements usually go to an industrial or manufacturing business.
“That seems really generous,” said Barry.
Economic development coordinator Lou Perillo said Cava’s location on West Street falls within the enterprise zone.
“This is a state enterprise zone so they are entitled to the commercial abatement,” Perillo said. “To go to the legislature to request removing that one acre parcel from the zone…I wouldn’t advise that.”
Enterprise zone programs are put in regions defined by the state as “distressed areas.” When Pratt & Whitney left Southington, taking away 10 percent of the tax base, the state deemed a portion of town for the enterprise zone. Because it falls in that territory, Cava Restaurant was approved for their abatement.
Both abatements passed unanimously by the council.
All changes made to the language following the public hearing are available at Southington.org.