Council set to vote on tax agreement for fuel cell park

Published on Tuesday, 7 August 2018 20:14
Written by Skyler Frazer

@SFrazerNBH

NEW BRITAIN - Following a neutral recommendation by a council committee last week, the Common Council will officially vote on a tax agreement with EIP Investment, LLC, for the company’s upcoming project at the old Stanley Works campus.

The much-discussed Energy Innovation Park project received approval from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in June and has received support from many stakeholders in the city and beyond. In short, the first phase of the multiphase project will convert parts of the Stanley Works campus into a 20-megawatt fuel cell park utilizing clean energy.

Later phases of the project will create a data storage and processing center at the site.

In total, the project is expected to provide more than $45 million for New Britain and $200 million in revenue for the state over the period of its construction.

The project could create up to 3,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, with 150 to 200 on-site and full-time jobs coming later.

Last Wednesday, the Committee on Administration, Finance and Law forwarded a resolution detailing a tax assessment deferral/modification agreement with EIP Investment, LLC back to the full council with a neutral recommendation.

As currently written, the resolution would authorize Mayor Erin Stewart to enter into a 27-year tax assessment deferral/modification agreement with EIP Investment, LLC. According to the draft of the agreement, EIP will make tax payments to the city starting with the October 1, 2019, grand list that will gradually increase over the next 27 years. By October 2021, EIP will be the second largest taxpayer in New Britain.

According to Mark Wick, a partner with EIP, the approach to the tax plan is to help even out payments during construction of the first phase of the project.

“The goal here is to talk about a tax PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) where we address real estate and the personal property tax of the equipment inside on a simplified basis and basically look at it on a pure square-foot analysis,” Wick said last week.

Wick said there is a ripple effect when these data centers come to communities.

“This is infrastructure of the modern economy. The goal is not to build a data center in and of itself, the data center serves all the surrounding businesses,” Wick said. “Data centers are much more than storage facilities, they’re critical to modern commerce.”

Alderman Carlo Carlozzi asked Wick to come to Wednesday’s council meeting to further explain the project to the full council.

In other proposed action for Wednesday, the Common Council will:

n Discuss a resolution that would reinstate the residency requirement for all department head positions in the New Britain Code of Ordinances. In the past, the ordinance had required most city employees to live within the city, but this requirement has dwindled in recent years and now the ordinance only requires the fire chief and chief of police to be residents.

n Potentially approve a $994,083 purchase order to contract B&W Paving and Landscaping, LLC, for the city’s Eddy Glover Boulevard Traffic Safety Improvements project. Funding for the project is provided under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. The federal government will reimburse the city 90 percent of the cost of the project up to $900,000.

n Potentially approve an $89,500 purchase order to contract Rampage, LLC, for phase two of the skate park upgrades project at Stanley Quarter Park.

The Common Council’s meeting Wednesday will begin with public participation at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, City Hall.

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at sfrazer@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, New Britain on Tuesday, 7 August 2018 20:14. Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2018 20:16.