Freda Announces 2.8% Grand List Growth at State of the Town Address
First Selectman Mike Freda gave his Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce-hosted State of the Town address at Fantasia on Feb. 21. (Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
At the Feb. 21 State of the Town address, First Selectman Mike Freda (R) promised Grand List growth—and teased a bid for re-election, which he confirmed the following day.
In the midst of state budgeting season, Freda began his address by reflecting on a recent conference of municipalities.
“I left the meeting feeling…a great deal of uncertainty in terms of what’s going to happen in the upcoming fiscal year and next fiscal year in terms of the State of Connecticut’s budget,” Freda said.
He said that the town’s financial stability and economic development would provide a “shield” against budgetary concerns at the state level.
“The town’s reserves are very well positioned. The town continues to balance budgets and the rating agents continue to rate us AAA,” he said.
In particular, Freda announced that the town achieved 2.8 percent Grand List of Taxable Properties growth in the last fiscal year, which translates to roughly $2 million in incremental revenue for the town.
“That gives us a cushion against the uncertainty that I mentioned earlier at the state level,” Freda said.
He touched on new additions to the town’s business community like the incoming Amazon facility which, Freda said, eventually will bring 3,000 jobs with it.
“I can commit to you with a great deal of confidence and conviction that our Grand List will continue to grow primarily through two ways: bringing in news businesses…but also expanding existing businesses,” Freda said.
Freda also promised more development in the area between I-91 exits 12 and 13.
“Plazas are being purchased; buildings will be renovated,” he said.
Freda said the proposed train station at the end of Stiles Avenue will begin construction within the next two years.
“Our biggest mission right now is the 50,000 square feet of Sports Authority that’s empty and the 60,000 square feet of Toys R Us and Babies R Us,” Freda said.
Regarding Toys R Us, Freda said “a new, innovative retailer” has “made a commitment to come to town” and could occupy the vacant site.
“Beyond that, there’s still development opportunities. Two things that I’m going to share with you today that are very important that I’ll be focusing on if the fine citizens of North Haven allow me to continue to serve as first selectman,” Freda said, holding his formal declaration for a re-election bid to the following day (see “Freda to Seek 6th Term as First Selectman” on page 4).
One focus would be future developments near I-91 exit 9; the other would be creating a walkable downtown district near Broadway.
“One of the things that we don’t have in North Haven is…a centered downtown block district, so one of my goals in the next term is to focus in on what we can do to create more of a walking downtown district in North Haven,” he said. “It’s a challenge.”