New Britain council OKs tax break for fuel cell park

Published on Thursday, 9 August 2018 21:09
Written by Skyler Frazer

@SFrazerNBH

NEW BRITAIN -– By a unanimous vote Wednesday, the Common Council approved a tax agreement with EIP Investment, LLC, for the company’s upcoming project on 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 will create a data storage and processing center. Mark Wick, a partner with EIP, said the first phase of the project is a “bookended” project. Essentially, if for some reason phases beyond phase one do not happen, the fuel cell park will still be sending power to the grid.

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.

The resolution authorizes Mayor Erin Stewart to enter into a 27-year tax assessment deferral/modification agreement with EIP Investment. According to the agreement, EIP will make tax payments to the city starting with the Oct. 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.

Wick said this approach will help even out payments during construction of the first phase of the project.

“By year three, our projections just dealing with the three existing buildings on the site would make us the second largest taxpayer in the city of New Britain,” Wick said. “So we’re right behind Stanley and ultimately our goal shortly thereafter is to be the largest taxpayer in town.”

In other action Wednesday, the Common Council:

nBy a vote of 8-4, with the Democratic caucus in favor and the Republican caucus against, voted to reinstate the residency requirement for all department head positions in the Code of Ordinances. This will include the director of public works, the director of support services, the director of recreation and community services, the finance director, the director of economic development, and the director of health and building services, the director of community development and the director of human resources. This will be in effect for all successors to these positions, so those currently employed will be grandfathered in.

Alderman Daniel Salerno said the council should look at research on whether this move is necessary, but Alderman Carlo Carlozzi called the ordinance a great way to promote the city.

nApproved a $994,083 purchase order to hire 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. The council also approved an $89,500 purchase order to contract Rampage, LLC, for phase two of the skate park upgrades project at Stanley Quarter Park.

nBy an 8-4 vote, with the Democratic caucus in the majority and the Republican caucus in the minority, voted against a purchase order of $11,800 to Lenard Engineering for inspections of the city’s dams. Lenard Engineering has done the last five such inspections for the city, but Carlozzi criticized the company’s recent work related to Tilcon’s plan to mine city-owned watershed property.

Lenard Engineering did a study on behalf of the city analyzing the potential risks and benefits of the plan, but the study has been criticized by state officials and local activists.

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 Thursday, 9 August 2018 21:09. Updated: Thursday, 9 August 2018 21:12.