The Common Council approved 2 large tax abatements for medical office building development on Saybrook Road. Both buildings are already under construction.
During the public comment period, I spoke against the tax abatement, pointing out that with construction already well underway, the developer had provided evidence against a required provision of the ordinance, which requires that a project would not be able to be completed without the incentive.
Larry McHugh, Chairman of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce scoffed at any suggestion that this abatement should not go forward. He said it was a very competitive environment and developers would go to other towns and cities if our city did not provide these incentives.
Daley spoke in favor of the tax abatement. He briefly mentioned that a representative of the developer did explain the finances to the Economic Development Committee and the Finance and Government Committee. He said that the city needs to give these incentives, "It is a competitive environment out there, developers can build where they choose, ... and we have to be competitive." Councilman Pessina agreed with Daley about the need to remain competitive.
Daley praised this development and what it does for our city, and asked that the real question was about whether it was good to have development, "Are you better to get 40% of something or 100% of nothing."
Daley read from the application's description that offered justification for the tax relief program, "We foresee these added investments and considerations as critical for the success of this project, however, with recent changes in geo-political and economic situations we've been faced with an unprecedented and unplanned increase in both construction costs and materials costs needed to effectively complete this project."
Councilman Giuliano said he had misgivings about the ordinance but he would be supporting the abatement. The developer has been encouraged, and has effectively been promised the abatement, and to deny it would pull the rug out from under him.
Councilman Nocera said he heard the developer present the project at the Finance and Government Committee meeting and he was convinced this was needed and important.
Councilman Faulkner said that he was concerned about setting a precedent, but was reassured by Drew's explanation that this had been vetted thoroughly by him and by the Economic Development Committee.
The vote on both tax abatements was 11 to 1, Councilman Rob Blanchard cast the lone dissenting vote.