SOUTHINGTON - The Town Council approved a revision to Southington‚Äôs tax abatement policies at Monday‚Äôs meeting.
Following a public hearing which saw no public participation, the town unanimously approved revisions intended to simplify their abatement policies and make the town more attractive for businesses.
Town Manager Garry Brumback explained that the abatement policies are reviewed every two years and can be modified at this time. Economic Development Director Lou Perillo said that, two years ago, the legal language was modified to allow abatements to be given to breweries. Monday‚Äôs modification was intended to clear up language to enable them to take full advantage of those abatements.
‚ÄúThis is intended to assist the ‚ÄėMom and Pop‚Äô beer producers, not large companies like Budweiser,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThese are grassroots companies who are trying to start something that we are assisting. We see that they are making investments in the community and want to support them.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThis is really streamlining it,‚ÄĚ said Councilor John Barry. ‚ÄúMore than half of the language is being deleted.‚ÄĚ
Barry said that he would support the revision but expressed concern in the possibility of a ‚Äúslippery slope‚ÄĚ that would result in abatements being given to every restaurant owner who came to town.
Perillo explained that the abatements were intended to assist those who specifically manufactured beer. He said that they have been successful in attracting three breweries in the past year: Witchdoctor Brewing Company, Kinsmen and Skygazer.
‚ÄúTwo years ago we revised our abatement code to entice people to come into our vacant buildings,‚ÄĚ said Perillo. ‚ÄúIf these buildings sit vacant for 10 years then they quickly fall into disrepair.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúTax abatements are a tool that has worked,‚ÄĚ Perillo continued. ‚ÄúWe have attracted three breweries. We hear all the time about the state not being business friendly but we are business friendly in Southington. We are doing phenomenally well in attracting businesses, which is getting all sorts of publicity. I think they we are doing a great job.‚ÄĚ
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.