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Tax breaks in Ansonia set unprecedented record

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ANSONIA–He is a Republican in a heavily Democratic city. But, when you can offer property owners and businesses tax breaks for a second consecutive year, political affiliation matters not.

David Cassetti, a lifelong resident of Ansonia, who has owned and operated a construction company for 30 years in town, says the main reason he ran for office in November 2013 is because he was being taxed to death–both personally and professionally–and wanted it to stop.

“On my desk sits a small plaque with a simple message: it can be done,” Cassetti told the Ansonia Board of Alderman Tuesday night.

Cassetti requested the BOA support his proposed 2015-16 fiscal year budget, which includes a tax break for a second consecutive year – unprecedented in Ansonia.

“I am proud to say my proposed budget represents a 1 mill decrease in the tax rate,” said Cassetti.

Residents tax breaks will depend on the assessment of one’s home.

“It’s going to be anywhere from $180-$270,” said Cassetti.

The tax breaks are possible because the mayor says the city has 17-18 percent of its annual budget sitting in its rainy day fund, which he deems unnecessary.

Cusseta he says he’s learned from other municipalities, with whom he’s done business in construction, that a rainy day fund typically should be between 7 and 10 percent.

To correct this, while not reducing services, he’s proposing $2 million come out of the cities rainy day fund.

Developing a commercial tax base is also important to Cassetti, who says the city has taken a major step by clearing the way for development of the abandoned 40-acre former site of the Ansonia Copper and Brass Company.

“I’ve already got developers that are interested. It’s not concrete yet, but I’m working with them,” said Cassetti.

DiGiovanni’s CafĂ© and Catering opened its doors on Main Street in the fall of 2014, after the city took an aggressive approach.

“They bring you into their office and tell you what programs are the best fit for you and what is available in incentive programs and loans,” said Nick DiGiovanni, owner.

In his first year in office, Ansonia’s grand list has grown by about $8 million, in large part to six or seven businesses relocating to the city.

“We are going to do it,” exclaimed Casetti. “We were going to turn the city around. We’re going to reawaken it.”

Among the handful of businesses that have relocated to or open up in Ansonia is Better Packages, which manufactures commercial tape dispensers. The nearly 100-year-old company had been located in Shelton, until Mayor Cassetti told the owner “we are open for business!”