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In an effort to support the budding redevelopment at the former Unilever headquarters, the town is considering in offering a tax abatement to the owner of the property.
Town Council (TC) Chairman Chris Aniskovich said that developer Michael Massimino had inquired about obtaining an abatement, which Aniskovich said could help Massimino secure tenants for his lease agreements.
“He’s very excited about what’s going on…There’s a lot of activity going on, so he wants to get some resolutions,” Aniskovich said.
Last fall the town’s Board of Selectmen approved a tax incentive policy that developers could apply for based on the long-term benefits to the community of their project. Aniskovich said that the town would use that policy as a template, but noted there’s several ways to structure any abatement program.
Under the policy the selectmen approved, should the town approve an abatement, the reductions are on the property tax and personal property taxes.
Current TC member Christine Goupil, the town’s first selectman when the policy went into place, at that time said, “A key point to this policy is it does not reduce existing or current taxes, but can help ease the transition for an expansion or new developer’s future taxes.”
The policy allows for abatements for a period of up to five years.
That policy was developed with input from members of the Economic Development Commission as a way to assist developers who could have limited capital in the beginning of a project so that some tax payments could be abated until the development is open and making money. The benefit of adopting the policy was explained at the time as being a way to have an official policy that developers could ask about and a transparent policy.
There is no official abatement plan yet. Aniskovich said that while helping the developer is important, the town must also protect itself.
“We need to work to make sure it works both ways,” Aniskovich said of any potential abatement.