DeStefano touts $149 million increase in New Haven’s grand list
(2/4/2011) (From New Haven Register)
By Abbe Smith, Register Staff
NEW HAVEN — Mayor John DeStefano Jr. Thursday announced a $149 million increase in the city’s grand list, which he said amounts to about $6.3 million in new tax revenue for the next fiscal year, without increasing the tax rate.
“It reduces our budget gap that we face next year to about $42 million, which is still a big number, but it’s better than $48 million,” he said, referring to the previously forecast deficit amount.
The city’s grand list of taxable property rose by about 3 percent in 2010, the largest reported gain in the state, for a second consecutive year, according to DeStefano.
The mayor attributed the grand list growth to recently completed construction projects, including Fusco Corp.’s lab building at 55 Park St., Intercontinental’s office building at 2 Howe St., renovation of the Winstanley biotech building at 300 George St., the renovated A-1 Toyota on Amity Road, the Harbour Close condominiums and the renovated New Haven Hotel on George Street.
The projected $42 million deficit for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, is down from $57 million, due to grand list growth and other factors. DeStefano explained that the pension valuation came in about $6 million less than anticipated, and health care costs were about $2.5 million less than expected.
DeStefano said the bulk of grand list growth came from developments related to biotech and life sciences, education, financial services and other knowledge-based industries.
City Assessor Bill O’Brien said grand list growth was also aided by a 10 percent increase in personal property and a 5 percent increase to motor vehicle assessments.
Yale University got bumped down to fifth place on the list of top 10 taxpayers. Yale pays about $113 million in taxes to the city for properties it owns that are not used for exempt educational purposes. Topping the list for the first time is Massachusetts developer Carter Winstanley, whose future projects include reopening the Winchester Repeating Arms plant as office space and apartments, and developing a $140 million biotech building at 100 College St. as part of the Downtown Crossing project.
His contribution to the 2010 grand list was almost $143 million. Winstanley also developed 300 George St. and the Science Park building on Winchester Avenue. Also in 2010, the retail and condominium building at 360 State St. made its debut on the list at $3 million.
James Torgerson, CEO of United Illuminating Co., the city’s third-highest taxpayer, spoke about the importance of attracting businesses to the area and improving transit to facilitate growth.
“New Haven is now showing itself to be very business-friendly,” he said.
New Haven Economic Development Director Kelly Murphy said the city is working hard to grow the grand list even further. She talked about working with the Economic Development Corp. to study expansion possibilities for the Mill River area. Also, she plans to introduce a development agreement this year for phase one of Downtown Crossing.
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