Town passes tax breaks for new investment

Town passes tax breaks for new investment

Ezovski says speed bumps could be solution for Old Smithfield Road

NORTH SMITHFIELD – An initiative aimed at spurring economic development by simplifying how companies apply for tax exemptions got the go-ahead from members of the Town Council last week, who approved changes unanimously.

A neighborhood-led plan, meanwhile, to find a solution for traffic on Old Smithfield Road was tabled while residents try to agree on a solution to divert vehicles from the area.

Town Administrator Gary Ezovski said he’s also been searching for a way to provide relief for the group, which contacted him with complaints that their street is used for a cut-through for traffic trying to escape the intersection of Route 146 and Sayles Hill Road. Initially, the group C.O.U.R.T, or Conserve Our Unique Rural Town, had sent a letter to the administrator asking that an electronic gate be installed on the street. Members first came together last year in opposition to a proposal to install a windmill on the same street.

Noting they had “diverse opinions on how to manage the traffic,” C.O.U.R.T asked for a one month delay on a meeting with the council, which is now scheduled for April.

But Ezovski said he also has an idea on how to resolve the problem.

“A well-constructed speed bump could be a solution for this location, as well as at least one other in town,” Ezovski told the council.

The administrator noted that neither the police or fire chiefs in town support the idea of turning the road into a one way.

On the separate subject of tax treaty stabilization, which creates a new process for businesses to obtain tax exemptions after moving to North Smithfield or making new investments, Council President John Beauregard questioned if the process would give newcomers an unfair advantage over existing businesses.

Ezovski, who has developed and promoted the changes with the help of Planner Tom Kravitz, noted that the council would need to approve the exemptions on a case-by-case basis under the new procedure. He said that the town has no mechanism to give existing businesses who don’t invest such a tax break, because the state statute authorizing the exemption process only covers new investment.

“The reality is you can’t,” Ezovski said. “Once you impose a tax on a property you can’t take it off. It’s not in your control to be able to say what happens with any other existent business.”

Kravitz agreed.

“I don’t know how you reward those who aren’t willing to expand,” he said.

The plan eliminates the minimum amount of investment required for business owners to qualify for tax breaks on personal property, a change that had some councilors concerned.

“I certainly want to encourage business. I want them to reinvest. But I just don’t want them to use it as an escape clause,” said Councilor Paul Zwolenski of his fear the businesses would try to use it for minor investments like window replacements.

Ezovski responded, “There is a process. They have to apply. They have to appear. It requires their time, not just ours.”

As a former business owner, the administrator said he hopes to give investors breathing room in order to start to recover from major moves or renovations.

“This tries to help the business get through those lean years.” Ezovski said.

Kravitz did modify the initial proposal to allow the council to decide how long the exemption should last, with a limit of 10 years. Initial plans would have seen the tax grow at a rate of 10 percent each year until it reached the full amount.

Ezovski has said the change was prompted by a business in town that has major plans for expansion, although he has declined to name the company.

“I’m seeing 175 acres of manufacturing land that I want filled for benefit of the town,” he said last week.

Comments

A study on speed bumps reported interference with response times for police and fire,reduce property values,increase noise levels,increase wear and tear on vehicles,increase air pollution and physically challenging on the elderly.Getto

I have requested speed bumps in the past to the town but didn't get any responses. My hope is that they install them on the other side of Old Smithfield Road as well.(the cut through to the car dealership and hockey rink)
Cars fly down this street with no regard. Please keep this side of Old Smithfield Road in mind when starting construction. We have a lot of children that live on this side of the street!

I don't agree limiting access to this road. I am a tax payer in this town. My taxes pay for the maintenance. The only solution I would agree with is making it a private road and tax it as such. Let the residents of the road to pay for its upkeep and pay for private plowing.

RF
North Smithfield resident

Speed bumps are a nightmare; I have one near where I live and let me tell you that they have the opposite effect that you might think. Cars speed up (pun intended) to the bump then brake violently. They go over the bump at 10-15 mph, then immediately "peel out" again to approach the next bump. So, the net effect is akin to a mini drag strip. NOT something you want in your neighborhood, unless you want drag racing cars and revving engines around the clock. Say no to this ridiculous idea.

Speed bumps only slow down vehicles within fifty (50) feet of where they are placed.After a vehicle crosses over a speed bump it starts to speed up to make for lost time.

I think it's easy to criticize the speed bump idea when you don't live on the street and have your 1 and 3 year old playing in their yard while cars do 60 MPH by your house.

We hear you mike, but unless the speed bump is in front of house you will still have speeding vehicles. We live on a cut through street and at times it's like the Indy 500.Speed Bumps are ghetto

Try living on Saint Paul St ! Posted speed of 35 mph ! Very rarely does anyone do the speed limit ! The residents of Old Smithfield Rd. have only had to deal with this since Doweling Village has opened ! Where as we on Saint Paul St. have been living with speeders forever! Every complaint has fallen on deaf ears! Good luck !!!! You will need it !!!!