Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-1440

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING A SPECIAL TAXING DISTRICT WITHIN THE TOWN OF REDDING.

Vote Date:

4/16/2007

Vote Action:

JFS

PH Date:

3/20/2007

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Finance Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill would allow the Special Taxing District within the Town of Redding, created in 2005 by Special Act 05-14, to finance, plan, acquire, own, lease, mortgage, maintain, operate, and regulate the use of other infrastructure improvements, including open space, parks, parking facilities, other real and personal property interests. The bill also allows the district to adopt and enforce design codes and property use restrictions within the district. Furthermore, this bill makes the districts bonds, authorized under SA 05-14, urban renewal debt for purposes of the municipal debt limit. The bill also makes the district's bonds valid and legal investments for governments, banks, insurance companies, and fiduciaries. The Redding District is given the power to impose and collect taxes on land and buildings in the district that benefit from its infrastructure improvements. Furthermore, the bill specifies that the district is tax-exempt and not subject to state or local taxes or assessments and that interest on the district's bonds are tax-exempt.

The Finance Committee added substitute language to clarify the boundaries of the Steel Point District in Bridgeport.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None expressed.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Natalie Ketcham, First Selectman, Town of Redding testified in support of this legislation, as it would allow Georgetown Special Taxing District, within the Town of Redding, to continue with the redevelopment of the Gilbert & Bennett mill site. Ms. Ketcham noted that Special Act 05-14 gave the GSTD the power to construct “green buildings” that meet high environmental and energy-efficiency standards. To finance this construction, the District hoped to issue “green bonds, however it cannot issue the full-amount under Connecticut law without impacting the ability of the Town to issue bonds for its general purposes. Ms. Ketcham went on to say that the bill would provide that the District's debt be considered as “urban renewal project” debt, allowing the District to issue the green bonds and mitigate the impact on the Town's ability to issue bonds for its municipal purposes.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

David Evans, Government Affairs Consultant, representing TCR Northeast Land Acquisition Limited Partnership (“TCR”) testified in opposition to many aspects of the bill in its current form, but expressed his support for GLDC's efforts in redeveloping the former Gilbert & Bennett manufacturing facility. Mr. Evans stated that TCR has numerous concerns with this legislation including that it would empower the District with sweeping authority over its tax assessments. Mr. Evans went on to say that TCR is particularly concerned that the GLDC's Tax District would be authorized to levy special benefit assessments on any land or buildings before, during or after the improvements or expenditures are made. Mr. Evans stated that TCR is concerned with the proposed changes because TCR is under contract to become the owner of a significant portion of the land, which it intends to develop and sell as individual residential lots and/or units to various buyers. Mr. Evans believes that this bill would allow for “spot taxation” with no need for advance budgeting or board accountability, and scare away potential buyers due to the unpredictable authority the District would have to finance significant debts.

Reported by: Sean Kimball

Date: April 18, 2007