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1,075 Signatures Force Special Dollar Tree Meeting

Windsor Town Clerk Agnes Pier will be working throughout the weekend to validate signatures of a petition against a tax abatement for Dollar Tree.

It will be loud. It will be bright. It will drive down home values.

These are the complaints of those who could become neighbor's of Dollar Tree's one-million-square-foot distribution center on Stone Road.

In accordance, residents in the Rainbow area have united and collected more than one thousand signatures on a petition against the Town Council's decision to grant Dollar Tree a 40-percent tax abatement.

Pursuant to Windsor Town Charter Section 9-4, residents can make a push to reverse a Town Council decision by forcing the council to call a special town meeting, opening up the vote to Windsor residents.

Opponents of Dollar Tree's plans have done just that, surpassing the required number of petition signatures, which is 965.

All that now stands in the way of the Town Council's decision being reversed is the turnout at a special town meeting on Sat., April 7 and the validation of each signture on the petition.

According to Town Clerk Agnes Pier, signatures can be found to be invalid for a number of reasons, including illegible writing and the signee failing to be a registered elector.

She will likely spend the entire weekend varifying each signature, she said.

Should the number of varified signatures still surpass the required 965, the April 7 meeting will be held at Sage Park Middle School at 10 a.m.

According to Pier, those seeking to overturn the Council's tax-abatement decision must have a minimum of 100 people in the majority when residents vote at the meeting.

If they are successful, it would be a first in the town, at least since Pier took over as Town Clerk in 2002.

"To my knowledge it has never happened," she says, adding their have been petitions and meetings in the past, but she cannot recall a group that was ultimately successful.

The special meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Sat., April 7 at Sage Park Middle School.

The question voted on will be "Should the Town Council's vote on March 19, 2012 to authorize the Town Manager to execute, on behalf of the Town of Windsor, a fixed assessment agreement with Dollar Tree Distribution, Inc. be ratified?"

Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 08:25 PM
If it is only 12-15 families as Mr. Simon claims, then it would not be very costly for the town to buy them out, if they wish to move, and if some do not wish to move, the town can ameliorate their situation. The town can stop the abatements and use those tax moneys to buy out the 12-15 families. (How much is 15 times $200,000-250,000?) And the families can get priority at the new Great Pond development.
Bill Generous April 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Maria, I follow the issue of property taxes and budgets of towns in CT. Windsor Locks has indeed raised their taxes a lot as of late. Over the last 10 years, Windsor Locks has had the 135th highest increase in their effective tax rate (i.e. tax rate increase excluding the effects of revaluation) of the 169 towns in CT. Relative to other towns in CT, their taxes are still low. As of 2008, homeowners there had the 5th lowest property tax burden (taxes as a percent of their income) of CT towns. Unfortunately, some towns are so desperate for the added revenue, they are willing to sacrifice the quality of life in an area of town just to get it. Over the last 10 years, Windsor's grand list growth not due to revaluation has been 10% higher than the typical town in CT, and yet it is not enough for some.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Good comment, Bill. If Hamilton Standard leaves town, Windsor Locks will be in deep trouble financially. Warehouses and recycling facilities could never make up the tax loss. Hamilton Standard and Ahlstrom (formerly Dexter's) have done more for Windsor Locks than any warehouse could ever do. In my opinion, these two companies have also done more for the town than Bradley Airport over the years. Our economic development efforts in town should be directed at retaining these two companies and bringing in similar companies. You build on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Sorry, it is Hamilton Sundstrand (formerly Hamilton Standard). My age is showing.
Maria Giannuzzi April 03, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Whatever business name the landowner choses to call itself, it is the principals (persons) of the company who are making the decisions. This information should be available on the Secretary of State's website.

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