JAMES F. ABROMAITIS, Commissioner
Ronald F. Angelo, Deputy Commissioner
Established - 1995
Central office - 505 Hudson Street,
Number of employees - 151
Recurring operating expenses - $15,797,947
Organizational structure –
· Commissioner’s Office
· Office of Business and Industry Development
· Office of Strategic Competitiveness
· Office of Housing Finance
· Office of Municipal Development
· Office of Infrastructure and Real Estate
· Compliance Office and Planning/Program Support
· Office of Finance and Administration
The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) develops and implements strategies to attract and retain businesses and jobs, revitalize neighborhoods and communities, ensure quality housing and foster appropriate development in Connecticut’s towns and cities.
Under the provisions of Section 8-37r of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Department of Economic and Community Development administers programs and policies to promote business, housing, and community development, and is the state agency responsible for promoting economic growth. DECD develops strategies and programs to attract and retain businesses and jobs, revitalize neighborhoods and communities, ensure quality housing and foster appropriate development in Connecticut’s cities and towns.
In an effort to provide continued quality service to its customers, the agency is staffed with highly trained economic, housing and community development professionals who identify customer and community needs and coordinate resources—both public and private—to meet those needs.
DECD (www.decd.org) has several offices dedicated to nurturing economic growth across the state. The Office of Business and Industry Development promotes in-state business and economic development, as well as out-of-state business recruitment, through use of tax credits, financing, technical assistance, and enterprise zones. The Office of Strategic Competitiveness manages the department’s Next Generation Competitiveness Strategy, a comprehensive, cluster-based economic development plan to strengthen the competitiveness of Connecticut’s industries and workers. Included within this office are the Office of BioScience and the Office of Insurance and Financial Services. The department’s international staff is dedicated to attracting foreign direct investment to Connecticut and helping companies take advantage of export opportunities in the global marketplace.
Making the best use of Connecticut’s land and other material resources is key to successful economic development. DECD’s Office of Infrastructure and Real Estate provides engineering, architectural and construction management services, as well as financial oversight for large-scale real estate development, including industrial park development and brownfield redevelopment.
DECD also maintains a special focus on building strong neighborhoods and providing quality-housing services. The Office of Housing Finance promotes housing development through strategic investment, professional consultation, and program and policy development while the Office of Municipal Development provides municipalities and non-profits with financial and technical assistance for community development activities.
DECD’s economic and community development investments, programs and services, and policy initiatives have made a significant impact on the economy of Connecticut and the quality of life of its citizens. What follows are some highlights from fiscal year 2005-06.
· DECD executed contract awards totaling $18,330,404 in fiscal year 2006 that leveraged over $74.3 million of funds from other sources. These monies will finance the creation or preservation of 566 units of housing in the following communities: Bridgeport, Greenwich, Guilford, Hartford, New London, New Milford, Stamford and Wethersfield. The department has over $131.0 million under contract, representing 2,135 units of affordable housing soon to be or now under construction.
· Seven applicants were awarded a total of $10 million from the state’s Housing Trust Fund to create affordable housing throughout Connecticut. The five-year, $100 million Housing Trust Fund, administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development, is designed to help create and preserve housing for low- and moderate-income working families by providing critical “gap” financing in the form of loans and grants.
· DECD continued to administer the new American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) program. Through this federal program, which is being supplemented by state funds, $2.36 million in grants is available to help first-time low and moderate-income homebuyers with downpayments and closing costs.
· The DECD co-chairs, with OPM, the Governor's Working Group on Affordable Housing. The charge of this group, which includes a broad array of state agencies, is to provide advice on making the best use of Connecticut’s limited resources to create and preserve quality affordable housing. During fiscal year 2006 the Working Group reviewed each of the individual active housing programs, looking for ways to improve and streamline programs and eliminate cross-agency duplications and inefficiencies.
· DECD representatives continued making on-site visits to a variety of industries, to assess their needs and offer ways the department can be of assistance. Targeted industries included machine manufacturing, chemicals, insurance and financial services, plastics, aerospace and defense, metals, information technology, medical devices and electronics and energy. From September 2003 to June 2006, OBID staff has outreached to 580 Connecticut businesses.
· DECD, the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA) and Connecticut Innovations (CI) continued to work closely together both at the executive and staff levels to better coordinate the delivery of services to customers. The focus is on improved communication and collaboration between the agencies, as well as creating a clearer and more consistent message to prospective business clients. This "one voice" approach is improving the collective economic development efforts of the three entities.
· A new business outreach campaign was launched that touted the message ‘One Voice ... One Number.’ The three-month campaign reached businesses in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island via radio, print and television. DECD, CDA and CI jointly funded the campaign.
· DECD funding support enabled the Connecticut State Technology Extension Program (CONNSTEP) to complete 519 projects, serving 219 clients and creating or retaining 893 jobs.
· DECD continued its work towards creating a high-performing economy through its Next Generation Competitiveness Strategy. The initiative supports the state’s nine industry clusters – aerospace components manufacturers, agriculture, bioscience, insurance and financial services, maritime, metal manufacturing, plastic manufacturing, software/information technology, and tourism. The strategy also addresses ‘cross-cutting’ issues such as transportation, workforce development, innovation, energy and international marketing.
· A new business development office was established within the department dedicated to the insurance and financial services (IFS) industry. The office helps form public policy, mobilize resources, engage state and local leaders, and work to retain, create, and attract insurance and financial services jobs in Connecticut.
· In an effort to help Connecticut’s small manufacturers compete, DECD created the Small Manufacturers Competitiveness Fund in 2005. The $1million fund allows DECD to provide technical assistance, as well as loans for inventory, working capital, equipment, machinery, etc. To date DECD has approved loans for small manufacturers located in New Milford, Waterbury, Tolland, and Southington. This state support has helped these manufacturers create or retain 109 jobs. In 2006, Governor Rell announced another $1 million in funding for the program.
· In an effort to reinforce and increase the entrepreneurial energy in Connecticut’s inner cities, DECD continues to support the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) Youth Entrepreneurship Program. NFTE is a non-profit organization committed to teaching at-risk; inner-city youth how to successfully start and manage their own businesses. Since NFTE CT was launched in February of 2001, more than 4,300 Connecticut inner-city high school students have participated in the program and 119 teachers have become Certified Entrepreneurship Trainers. NFTE programs are or have been in the following Connecticut towns: Bridgeport, Bristol, Danbury, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford and Waterbury.
· DECD funded 21 companies under the Aerospace & Defense Initiative (ADI). The program is a $2 million, two-year initiative to help small and medium-size companies use lean manufacturing to increase productivity and efficiency.
· In a new effort to help Connecticut entrepreneurs become more competitive and enhance the next generation of technology, the department invested nearly $90,000 in The Connecticut Venture Group (CVG) to develop an Angel Investor Program. The funding will be used to assist emerging technology and other early stage companies by linking them with potential investors.
· DECD assumed administration of 25 new STEAP grants totaling over $9.6 million in fiscal year 2006. These grants helped fund various community development activities in small towns throughout the state.
· DECD announced over $15 million in Small Cities grants to 35 communities in fiscal year 2006. These federal funds, administered by DECD, can be used for economic development, affordable housing, community facilities and services, and revitalization projects.
· Continued DECD funding support for the CT Main Street Center has allowed for the creation of the Downtown Resource Center and the Downtown Revitalization Institute. The CT Main Street Center now provides technical assistance and downtown redevelopment services to over 30 communities throughout the state with the goal of improving physical appearances and downtown economies.
· Through DECD funding for the Energy Conservation Loan Program (ECL), $1.5 million was provided for over 160 loans for residential energy conservation improvements.
Infrastructure / Brownfield Redevelopment
· DECD’s infrastructure development efforts include over 180 active projects under contract, representing over $500 million in state investment to create jobs and improve quality of life. These include large-scale development, industrial parks and brownfield redevelopment projects.
· DECD, through its engineering unit, is active in the efforts of the Asthma Regional Council to address respiratory health issues through sound building practices. DECD was instrumental in developing new building standards to address this issue.
· In an effort to centralize the brownfield redevelopment efforts in the state, DECD has been directed by the legislature to establish an Office of Brownfield Redevelopment. This new office will allow for a statewide single point of contact and improve the already successful brownfield programs of the agency.
· Seventeen applicants were approved for a total of $2.35 million in funding under DECD’s Dry Cleaners brownfield program in fiscal year 2006. This self-sustaining program is the only funding resource available to small businesses for this unique pollution liability problem.
Research and Planning
· DECD submitted its first comprehensive annual report in accordance with PA 05-191. This 315-page report provides an unprecedented in-depth review of the history, structure and workings of the department and its performance in fulfilling is mission and mandates. The DECD Annual Report for fiscal year 2004-2005 is available in the “Publications” section of the DECD website.
· The DECD continued to expand its in-house research expertise in fiscal year 2006. Through the use of cutting edge research tools such as the REMI Policy Insight and TranSight models, DECD staff continues to provide econometric assistance to the DECD and other state agencies.
· DECD is responsible for the preparation of the state's Long-Range Housing Plan and the Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development. These two five-year strategic plans guide the state in implementing affordable housing and community development strategies and proscribe how the state will utilize its resources in these areas.