Action delayed on tax exemption for farms in Waterford

Waterford - Members of the Representative Town Meeting postponed action on an ordinance Monday that would allow the town's few farms to apply for specific tax exemptions.

RTM member Theodore Olynciw asked that the decision be postponed to the February meeting because he wanted a written report outlining the tax impact to the town. Tax Assessor Michael Bekech has said that based on the tax rate, the tax impact would be about $988.50 a year, with a more conservative estimate at around $600 a year.

The board agreed to postpone action on the ordinance despite approval of the issue by its own Legislation & Administration Committee in a public hearing shortly before the meeting.

L&A Chairman Craig Merriman said that because there is little farming in the town, the tax impact will be "minimal."

"From our perspective, it's a very minimal impact, we're helping farmers here grow their business and it will add to the town in that regard as far as business," Merriman said. "It has a bit of a cost-savings measure, keeping the land as farmland instead of it becoming residential."

Hunts Brook Farm owners Robert and Teresa Schacht recently brought the ordinance to the attention of the town because their farm has become an "integral piece" of southeastern Connecticut, Robert Schacht said.

j.hanckel@theday.com

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