Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. members who have helped draft a tax incentive program to entice businesses to invest in Naugatuck discuss the benefits of the program.
Mayor Bob Mezzo:
“For many years, we have struggled, as many communities have, in attracting businesses. We have many vacant buildings, some of which have been vacant since I was a child. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to offer an incentive. But because the way the world works, extra incentives are becoming necessary to help communities like Naugatuck.”
“We are not a big city, and we don’t have the demographics of a Fairfield County. However, this will give us additional tools in our arsenal to try to entice businesses to come here or to expand here."
“The program is part of the function of the NEDC like we envisioned it 10 years ago when it began. It’s a public and private partnership that transcends the political process for the most part, and they have the sole discretion to analyze the applications to determine whether it’s worth making a recommendation on behalf of the businesses.”
On not collecting the full amount of taxes: “In theory, we’re collecting taxes that we wouldn’t otherwise be collecting. Right now, we have vacant buildings that are providing no economic incentives: no taxes, no jobs.”
“This is not a magic solution, but it’s an attempt to retain and attract businesses.”
Chester Cornacchia, chairman of the Naugatuck Economic Development Commission*:
“The tax incentive program is designed to encourage a robust and competitive business climate as a statewide goal. It allows for control and individualized customization at the local level and will become another tool in Naugatuck’s economic development arsenal that puts us on an even footing and in the game with communities competing for business and labor investment opportunities.”
* The economic development commission and corporation are separate entities. Cornacchia is chair of the commission and a member of the corporation.
State Rep. Rosa Rebimbas:
"This is a product of a lot of people's hard work with the leadership of the Mayor, Dave Pendergrast, and the NEDC subcommittee that I served on. I remember when I first was elected I asked to meet with the Mayor and Dave Pendergrast to discuss options of promoting and retaining businesses in Naugatuck. This was one of the topics I brought up and I am happy to see it come through.
"Naugatuck needs to be competitive with the other towns in the State offering similar incentives. I believe the one that is being proposed is a responsible one because it invests in businesses that are willing to invest in Naugatuck. There are many security provisions in this ordinance that will hopefully prevent companies that are simply looking for the best price opposed to the best location. The ordinance has specific timelines that need to be adhered to and most importantly if the business leaves Naugatuck before the 10-year anniversary of the execution of the agreement they must pay the Borough back the dollar amount abated, plus interest.
"I believe this ordinance is responsible and promotes job creation for both new and existing companies in Naugatuck, if they are eligible."
Dave Rotatori, NEDC member and Chief Financial Officer for Naugatuck Savings Bank:
"I think we are competing with a lot of other towns and in order for us to attract businesses, we need to offer some incentives. If you look at our mill rate compared to other towns, it’s higher than many other towns in the region. Businesses obviously keep a close eye on how much they are taxed because they not only have real estate and motor vehicle taxes, but they also have personal property taxes. So in order to be competitive, we need to offer some incentives."