A taxes-for-demolition deal between the City of Ansonia and the owner of a 40-acre decrepit former industrial site downtown is dead.
Ansonia Copper and Brass owes the city roughly $800,000 in back taxes and sewer fees.
Mayor David Cassetti announced a deal with the company in August 2014 whereby they’d be allowed to deduct costs of demolition and environmental remediation from their debts to the city.
Some demolition occurred in December 2014.
But then more than a year passed without anything happening there.
Nevertheless, the city’s Aldermen voted in April 2016 to extend the deal in the hopes that the company would demolish a 170,000-square-foot “flat wire mill” on the sprawling property.
The deals signed by the city envisioned the company deducting $400,000, then $250,000, in demo and remediation costs from its tax bill.
But according to Sheila O’Malley, the city’s economic development director, the company has only spent $40,000 on demo and cleanup to date.
Mayor David Cassetti said he decided enough is enough.
“He’s been stroking us for a long time,” Cassetti said, referring to the company’s president, Ray McGee. “It’s time that we put the hammer down and we’re going after him. It’s taking too long and nothing’s happening.”
Reached by phone Thursday (April 20), McGee said he couldn’t say much.
“They’ve advised me they want to put it up for tax auction,” he said. “That’s all I know about it.”
The Valley Indy asked McGee why he thought the deal between the company and the city had gone south.
“That’s a question the city could answer better than I can,” he said. “It’s not that I don’t want to comment, I just don’t have any comment.”
Cassetti said McGee was taking too long. The agreement envisioned the demolition to have occurred by Aug. 1, 2016.
“They kept coming up with different ideas of what they’re going to do,” Cassetti said. “I said, ‘You know what? We’ve prolonged it long enough, it’s time to move forward.’”
John Marini, the city’s lawyer, said Thursday (April 20) a marshal is currently working on the tax auction documents.
A date has not yet been set for the auction, but he said bids could be solicited in June or July.
The city’s Aldermen would have the power to accept or reject a high bid, Marini said, or set any other restrictions they want on the deal.
If the city accepts a bid, Ansonia Copper & Brass would still have six months to get the property back — but only by paying the tax bill in full.