Tax incentive ordinance bears fruit

Goldenrod Corporation CFO Stephen Pretto, right, leads people on a tour of the company’s building at 25 Lancaster Drive in Beacon Falls on Dec. 5. The company recently completed an expansion after it received a tax abatement from the town. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Less than a year after voters approved the town’s tax incentive ordinance, the abatement program is bearing fruit.

The ordinance offers tax abatements for businesses that invest in a new commercial building or improvements to an existing commercial building. The incentives are offered in three tiers based on how much money is invested in a building.

The Goldenrod Corporation was first in line to apply for an abatement shortly after voters approved the ordinance in March.

Goldenrod received approval for an abatement on a roughly 8,700-square-foot addition to the company’s building at 25 Lancaster Drive, bringing it to nearly 40,000 square feet. The company will receive a four-year tax incentive that abates 50 percent of taxes in the first year and incrementally decreases to 20 percent in the fourth year.

The company welcomed town and area officials for a ribbon cutting ceremony Dec. 5 to officially open the new addition, which expanded the company’s warehouse space.

Goldenrod CFO Stephen Pretto said the company, which designs and manufactures shafts for the winding and unwinding of papers, was running out of room.

“It was just getting packed with more stuff. When it starts to stifle you that is a good indicator that we need more room,” Pretto said.

As soon as the addition was finished, he said, the company began making use of the space.

“That’s the way you want it. If you are going to expand, you had better use it. You just paid for that space. If you expand and don’t use it, you should question why you did it,” Pretto said.

Pretto said the company, which has been in Beacon Falls for 15 years, had been planning the expansion, but the tax incentive helped move it forward.

“We probably would have done it anyway, but it certainly facilitated it,” Pretto said.

Beacon Falls Economic Development Coordinator Sadie Colcord, who helped create the ordinance, said she’s happy to see a company move from applying for the abatement to actually growing.

“It is very meaningful to see the hard work we put into it paying off,” Colcord said.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik added, “It’s exactly what we envisioned when we started the discussions about how do we reward people for investing in this town.”

Voters rejected an application for an abatement for a new building at 113 South Main St. submitted by Dibra LLC — the second company to apply under the new ordinance. Subsequently, the Board of Finance rejected a very similar application resubmitted by the company.

Both Bielik and Colcord said they hope the news of the success Goldenrod had with the ordinance gets out to other businesses looking to build or expand in town.

“That’s what we want. We want that positive energy to just keep going,” Bielik said.

As for Goldenrod itself, the company may continue to grow.

Pretto said the original plans included the possibility for three expansions. And, if the town is still offering abatements, the company will apply again, he said.

“If it is available, we sure will,” Pretto said.