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Economic Upgrade: Council to Consider Hotel Abatement Program

Officials say the effort could inspire upgrades to the town’s hotels and motels and draw additional dollars to the town’s economy. The council will decide whether to move forward Tuesday.

Could tax abatement help improve the appearance of hotels and motels within the town’s commercial corridors and bring additional visitors to spend money in town?

Louis Perillo III, , said it’s a move that would have a positive influence on the town both directly and indirectly while giving local hotel owners an opportunity to remain competitive.

“It’s something that could have a multiplier effect,” Perillo said. “More money saved through taxes means nicer hotels and more customers spending money in Southington. We do have interest in new hotels developing in town as well and if there are new hotels in town, it puts pressure on existing hotel to renovate.”

The abatement program, which was first recommended at the Economic Development STRIKE Committee meeting in late September, will come before the council for discussion tonight.

Under the program that would be presented to the council, the town would offer tax abatement on any real estate or personal property associated with upgrades for five years. The hotels or motel properties would still be held responsible for their existing tax assessments.

Only existing hotels are eligible for the abatement, Perillo said.

Perillo said such a plan would allow the existing hotels to recoup the money spent on upgrades without forcing them to take “a double hit” by paying taxes before they have done so.

The recommendation came just two months after Southington was targeted as “a potential spot for hotel development” by outside surveyors. Perillo told members of the committee during a summer meeting that he had received calls from hired consultants for unknown hotel companies that reported successful occupancy rates in town.

“This is a chance for us to both help the older businesses and inspire development on new ones,” Perillo said.

Edward Pocock III, Southington Town Council Chairman, said he sees this is a program as a win-win for both local businesses and the town.

Upgrading facilities will not only serve to draw new businesses to the hotels, but could also have indirect effects on businesses as well, including possibly reducing crime in areas where hotels could begin to look run-down. 

“It’s the broken window theory,” said Pocock, who works as a lieutenant with the . “If an area is worn down, it’s more likely to attract criminal activity. You just don’t see it as much in areas that are new and shiny.

Pocock was unable to comment on direct crime statistics, but said a measure like this could help prevent some of the problems once seen along areas of the Berlin Turnpike where hotels were not able to make renovations.

He added that as the town tries to attract new people and businesses, this will only serve to improve appearances in the town’s busiest corridors.

“We have grown the economy in town and this is another measure to bring everything to date. In doing this, we are helping businesses without taking any taxes off the books,” he said. “It’s a win-win on every level.”

The council will begin discussions regarding the program today. Tell us how you think they should vote.

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