NEW BRITAIN - Water and sewer use rates werenâ€™t the only thing discussed at Wednesday nightâ€™s Common Council meeting.
The council also approved the creation of the New Britain Downtown Tax Increment Financing District and its master plan.
Connecticut statute allows municipalities to create tax increment financing districts with hopes of incentivizing economic development and infrastructure.
For municipalities, tax increment financing is essentially using future property tax increases to subsidize community-oriented projects and economic development.
The TIF District Master Plan calls for the city to retain 50 percent of the future increased assessed property values within the district, and up to 100 percent of the property tax revenues generated may be used to fund various projects.
Alderman Kristian Rosado said that while he hasnâ€™t always been a supporter of TIF districts, he likes the way Connecticut statute allows for flexibility within the districts.
â€śI say this as a person whoâ€™s been studying TIF funding for a long time â€¦ Iâ€™m 100 percent behind this,â€ť Rosado said. â€śI like what the state of Connecticut did with it and I like the options that itâ€™s given our municipalities across the state.â€ť
A few aldermen expressed concern about the creation of the district. Alderman Jim Sanders said that while he thinks TIF districts are good economic tools, he canâ€™t support one for New Britain.
â€śI just think that our mil rate is a little bit high and that any increase in revenue should be offset by reducing the mill rate,â€ť Sanders said. â€ś
The TIF District will encompass about 278 acres in downtown New Britain bounded by Stanley Street on the east side; Ellis Street, Whiting Street, South Whiting Street and Rockwell Avenue on the south side; Arch Street, Prospect Street, South High Street and High Street on the west; and Broad Street and North Street on the north. 515 properties are in the newly created district.
The council also approved an amendment to city ordinance related to parks in the city. Parks will now be open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services Eric Barbieri explained that this amendment to the ordinance will add consistency to the hours of operation for parks in the city.
â€śThis current language thatâ€™s in there is all over the place - by park.â€ť Barbieri said of current park regulations. â€śIt really doesnâ€™t make any sense.â€ť
There will be exceptions. Basketball courts and parts of parks that are illuminated at night will remain open until the lightâ€™s turn off shortly after 10 p.m. Walnut Hill Parkâ€™s walkway loop will remain open, though the parking lots and unlit parts of the park will close and open when other parks do.
In addition to the change in hours of operation, there will be a $100 fine for people located in parks after closing.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.