School budget deficit shrink; TIF plan update

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Board of Finance met on Tuesday, Aug. 28, and heard from the Board of Education and the Bristol Development Authority. BOE reported its deficit has shrunk. The BDA reported on its plans for Tax Incremental Financing.

Jill Browne, business manager for the Bristol BOE, reported that after months of projecting a deficit around $1 million, the BOE finished the 2017/2018 school year with a deficit of $143,997. Browne said this figure is “thirteen one-hundreths of a percent of our original budget allocation.”

The reduction in the deficit is due in part to a budget freeze put in place in the winter, as well as reimbursements in tuition, and the revenues from the year.

Executive director of the BDA, Justin Malley, discussed the city’s Tax Increment Financing draft plan with the Board.

“TIF is not a new economic development tool, TIF has been around for years. It is used in… 48 states across the country. It’s actually been around in Connecticut for many years, but just about three years ago the statute was updated to make TIF a lot more user friendly for communities,” said Malley

TIF, as Malley explained, is not a new tax, but a tool that can be used as incentive to bring businesses into Bristol. But, TIF can only be used within the boundaries of an established TIF district. Bristol’s TIF district is a boot-shaped region in downtown, spanning from Farmington Avenue, to South Street, encompassing the Memorial Boulevard area and the Riverside Avenue, corridor.

Similarly to setting up a bank account for holiday shopping, TIF captures a portion of tax revenues collected in the TIF district, and allows those funds to be used in the district in various ways. Those uses can include streetscapes, such as benches or trees to line sidewalks, and other kinds of city driven projects, or, they can be used to help a developer complete their project.

The TIF master plan is available to the public, and can be found online by going to this link, http://www.bristolct.gov/DocumentCenter/View/16889/Draft-Document—-TIF-Master-Plan—-City-of-Bristol-CT—-May-2018-Communication?bidId=.