Neil Chaudhary"We can increase small and large business incentives. I have heard business owners say, 'Why would I want a business in Newtown? Newtown doesn’t want businesses.' We need to change that perception—quickly.
Tax incentives and infrastructure enhancements (e.g., the Hawley Sewer Project) can encourage businesses to move to Newtown.
Fairfield Hills has the potential to be an excellent venue for business. I applaud the ideas proposed by others to allow extremely low cost long-term leases in exchange for remediation of the buildings. Even that makes it a tough sell—some of these buildings require heavy investment. I have read some criticism of these plans purporting that they somehow reduce revenue by such cheap leases. But if no one ever occupies them the cost is greater—and ultra-cheap leases do not absolve the occupants from paying taxes. Sounds like a win-win to me.
I have said in other venues that we need to expand our business base. We need to have decent incentives for businesses to get them into Newtown. We need to fix the infrastructure to make it hospitable to business. But we need to maintain the character of the town and protect the rights of homeowners—I don’t think these things need to be at odds with each other.
Why do we need more business and business incentives? Because we can’t go on increasing taxes until we drive out hardworking homeowners. Business will share the tax burden—the burden on the homeowners and existing business alike. Tax incentives will increase revenue if effective at bringing new business into tow. If a business never opens its doors it will pay nothing in taxes. If they open the doors with a reduced tax rate for a few years, they have the opportunity to build their businesses with lower overhead during the time when they are the most risk—just after opening or moving. They are still paying some taxes—reducing the existing burden, bringing jobs to Newtown and perhaps encouraging out of town spending in Newtown."
George Ferguson"We need to take a targeted approach and reach out to entice businesses to take a look at Newtown. Fairfield Hills has been a real challenge especially since the global economic bubble burst."
Mary Ann Jacob"We need to get sewers in the Hawleyville section of town. Exit 9 is currently the only exit off route 84 without a commercial base. It's the most number of available acres for growth. The current fast track system in place to approve new businesses is helpful, as the economy improves businesses will benefit."
Ryan Knapp"There are several things Newtown can do to attract more businesses. We have large tracts of undeveloped commercial property that are lacking the infrastructure to support growth. Im a big support of the Hawleyville sewer project for this reason. Development there will help decrease the tax burden on home owners. I believe developers are going to target the Exit 9 area, because of trends we have seen as large projects have been popping up along the 84 corridor near on/off ramps starting at the New York state line, working their way towards Newtown."
Paul Lundquist"We must do everything we can as the Legislative Council to encourage economic development and expand the commercial tax base as a way to begin to reduce the hugely disproportionate reliance of town revenues on residential property taxes. This means getting existing, unused properties back on the tax roles, and encouraging appropriate commercial development in Hawleyville, Commerce Drive and Fairfield Hills.
The current vision for the Fairfield Hills campus supports a vibrant sustainable destination where all members of the community can go to enjoy recreational, social, cultural, and indoor and outdoor activities. The campus already provides a home for some municipal services and a gathering place for a variety of town-wide events. Small retail stores, restaurants, and professional offices are envisioned within a core section of the campus. The Master Plan provides a general roadmap, and the Legislative Council will help set the tone and pace for development through input and approval of the town’s Capital Improvement Plan, which impacts demolition of existing buildings and development of capital projects (i.e., walking trail system). As a member of the Fairfield Hills Master Plan Review Committee in 2011 and the Master Plan Amendment Work Group in 2012, this topic remains a top concern and interest to me."