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Republicans Push For Effective Economic Development

Ed Weinberg, Republican candidate for First Selectman, addressed a recent gathering of supporters and stated “Rising local property taxes are hitting homeowners with a double whammy:  their taxes are going up and their home values are going down.  This year’s budget, before being pruned, reflected a mill rate of almost 42.  Building more houses, even over-55 restricted houses, will create a new stock of homes on the market that will depress housing prices even more.”

Weinberg continued; “The obvious solution is to increase the commercial tax base.  We have a plan for that.  Woodbridge has an under-utilized commercial district, encompassing only 6% of our Grand List.  The average for Connecticut municipalities of all sizes is 17%.  Not only do commercial properties require far less in Town services than do private homes, but they pay more in taxes on a square foot basis.  A recent analysis by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center found that a 5% annual growth of the commercial portion of the Grand List would reduce the mill rate by 1.33.  The report also noted that “…this would not occur organically; the Town would need to develop specific economic policies and plans to encourage such expansion.”

Weinberg concluded, “We propose engaging an economic development professional to do just that, taking an active role in attracting new businesses, with the goal of growing the Grand List to hold the line, or even decreasing our mill rate.  This will go a long way in protecting home values in our town.  The passive approach to economic development has clearly, and unfortunately, not worked in the past, and we doubt that it will work in the future.  Our team sees great promise for Woodbridge in this area, but it will take effective leadership to make it happen.”

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