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Amending Tax Abatement Policies to Incentivize Capital Expenditures

Last year, the Town of Ellington engaged AdvanceCT to undertake a self-assessment focused on economic development and land-use planning in their community. Through this process, the Town identified priority areas which include business retention, business attraction and tax abatements for targeted industries. Specifically, following this self-assessment process, the Town amended its current tax abatement policy to incentivize capital expenditures for farms.

Over the last six months, Ellington’s Economic Development Commission has been working with Oakridge Dairy, the largest dairy farm in Connecticut, to assist them in building a brand new 370,000 square foot cow barn with a 72-stall automated milking parlor. This project will be valued at over $15 million.

Lisa Houlihan, the town planner, states “the revised tax abatement allows certain types of farms to apply for a fixed assessment for up to 50% of the real property taxes for up to 7 years when a minimum of $25,000 in capital improvements are made.”

The policy has been amended and the Economic Development Commission recommended the maximum abatement to the Board of Selectmen. The Town Meeting this fall will determine final approval of this project’s tax abatement.

Ellington has a good understanding of its strongest industries and is putting policies like this one into place to encourage their growth and success.

The abatement for Oakridge Dairy passed by unanimous vote at the town meeting on September 11, 2017. The abatement limits the increased assessment on the newly constructed 354.000 square foot barn and automated milking parlor to 50% for seven years. The project cost approximately $15,000,000, including land purchase, site improvements, construction of facilities and new equipment. Oakridge has applied for a special event license from Ellington's Selectmen (decision should be made 10/16/17) and plans to hold public tours on October 28, 2017, 1-5 p.m. 33 Jobs Hill Road, Ellington.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.