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It depends upon the type of business (manufacturing, distribution, research, or retail), the stage of development (in business or a start-up), and what the needs are (relocation, new construction, renovation, and so on), but there are several common forms of assistance. These include tax abatements, grants, and referrals to loan providers. The city can combine local assistance programs with state programs.
Business planning, counseling, and loans may be available. There are a number of state and regional agencies to help businesses get going. Please see the information in the ECD brochure on starting a business on the webpage.
Bristol’s Enterprise Zone is a geographic area generally found downtown and is bounded by South Street, Bellevue Ave., Maple Street, North Street (Route 6), and West Street (Route 69). The zone includes most of or all of Main Street, North Main Street, Center Street, Church Street, Riverside Avenue, West Street, Park Street, Valley Street, Race Street, and Summer Street. New manufacturers locating in the Zone may be eligible for 80% property tax abatement for 5 years. Other users such as retail and residential who are expanding the tax base may be entitled to a freeze on assessments on a declining scale for seven years. Corporations may also be eligible for income tax credits of up to 25% for 10 years for locating in the zone. Bristol also has related programs such as the Qualified Manufacturing Plant, Bio-Science Zone, and the Urban Jobs Program that can assist qualified companies that are expanding.
Every five years the City works with Bristol residents, community organizations, business organizations and other groups to develop a 5-Year Consolidated Plan. The Plan documents housing and community development needs, outlines strategies to address those needs, and identifies priorities for the use of annual federal allocations of CDBG funds. The City of Bristol 2010-2015 Consolidated Plan, and the updated Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice are documents available on this website. Based on the Five-Year Plan, the city develops an Annual Action Plan that lists the specific projects to be undertaken during the program year. The Annual Action Plan is also available online. There is a lengthy citizen participation process in developing the Five-Year and Annual Plans. All meetings and hearings are open to the public and posted at a variety of locations including the CDBG page of this website. At the close of the public comment period, the City Council must approve the Plans before they are submitted to HUD.
There is more detail on a summary of these priorities.
City departments, non-for-profit organizations including incorporated neighborhood associations and housing programs may apply. Individual citizens or families are not eligible for direct CDBG funds, but ECD does have a Housing Rehabilitation Program. Individuals and families may also get assistance from organizations that are CDBG-funded.
Bristol residents who own and occupy their home, and meet income and other guidelines may qualify. For multi-family dwellings, the owner must live in one of the four (4-maximum) units. An application is available at the ECD, and can be mailed if requested. An ECD staff person can assist in completing the applications and will make an inspection before coming to a decision on the application. Any work done or expenses made before the grant decision will not be covered.
Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability. In addition, State of Connecticut law includes marital status (except an unmarried unrelated man and woman), sexual orientation, age (except minors), lawful source of income, and gender identity or expression. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can call the Bristol Fair Housing Officer Annemarie Sundgren, Division of Community Services at (860) 314-4690. The CT Fair Housing Center website is a good source of information.
In certain cases, Yes. The ECD administers the Residential Rehabilitation Program, funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program provides 50% grants, in most cases up to $5,000, to income-eligible homeowners who reside in the subject property. Projects to address fire and building code upgrades may be eligible for grant funding, include roof work, structural repairs, window replacements, electrical upgrades, and more. Contact Community and Economic Development at 860-584-6185 to learn more.