Department of Economic and

Community Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a Glance

 

JOAN McDONALD, Commissioner

Ronald F. Angelo, Jr., Deputy Commissioner

Joseph Oros, Chief of Staff

Established - 1995

Statutory authority - CGS Chapters 127b, 127c and 578

Central office - 505 Hudson Street,

Hartford, CT 06106

Average number of full-time employees - 150

Recurring operating expenses - $15,348,290

Organizational structure - Commissioner’s Office, Office of Strategy and Policy,

Office of Business and Industry Development, Office of Responsible Development,

Office of Municipal Development, Office of Housing Development and Finance,

Office of Brownfield Remediation and Development, and Office of Finance and

Administration.

 

 

Mission

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.

 

 

Statutory Responsibility

     Under the provisions of Chapters 127b, 127c and 578 of the Connecticut General Statutes, DECD administers programs and policies to promote business, housing, community development and brownfield redevelopment, and is the state agency responsible for promoting economic growth.

 

Public Service

     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) 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. Strategically, DECD supports comprehensive, industry-based economic development to strengthen the competitiveness of Connecticut’s workers and industries. The department’s international staff is dedicated to attracting foreign direct investment to Connecticut and helping Connecticut companies take advantage of export opportunities in the global marketplace.

 

     DECD is the lead agency for promoting and implementing the state’s responsible growth programs. To that end DECD provides planning, engineering, architectural and construction management services to oversee state-sponsored real estate development, including urban and downtown revitalization, industrial site development and brownfield redevelopment.  DECD provides assistance to customers for permitting and regulatory compliance with state or federal programs to allow for an expedited development process.

 

     DECD maintains a special focus on building strong neighborhoods and providing quality housing services. The department promotes housing development through strategic investment, professional consultation, and program and policy development as well as provides municipalities and non-profits with financial and technical assistance for community development activities.

 

Improvements/Achievements 2008-09

     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 2008-09.

 

STRATEGY AND POLICY

·         On February 1, 2009, in accordance with Section 32-1m of the Connecticut General Statutes, DECD submitted its fourth comprehensive annual report on all of the department’s community, economic and housing development activities between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008. This report covers topics ranging from the social and economic impact of DECD programs to a listing of the DECD-funded community, economic and housing development projects. The primary goal of this comprehensive overview of the agency is to provide policymakers and others with a greater understanding of the varied and complex nature of DECD’s responsibilities with regard to each of its mandates. The report outlines the department’s progress in all areas of responsibility.

 

·         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 describe how the state will utilize its resources in these areas.

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

·         Through the Manufacturing Assistance Act, DECD funded a total of 14 projects involving $23,882,448 in state funds, leveraging a total investment of $279,409,785.  These projects resulted in the retention of 8,718 jobs and the creation of 524 jobs in Connecticut.

 

·         DECD helped administer a $5 million low-interest loan to Precision Engineered Products LLC (PEP) to help the company purchase Lacey Manufacturing, a move that will retain 250 jobs in Bridgeport.

 

·         DECD and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) collaborated to lead 22 aerospace companies to exhibit at the June 2009 Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France.  The theme for the booth was “Connect to Connecticut, the Global Aerospace Leader: Empowering Innovation, Creating Success.” The 2009 booth participants were the largest group of Connecticut companies to participate since the program’s inception.  It included eight new companies as well as fourteen that have participated in past trips to the Paris and Farnborough air shows.     

 

·         DECD’s International Office collaborated with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) on a comprehensive international trade survey.  The survey, an update of one issued in 2007, provided insight as to companies’ barriers and obstacles to international trade, greatest needs and markets of importance.  The 2009 survey included a summary of DECD export programs and services. 

 

·         As a part of the Enterprise Zone and Urban Jobs Program, a program providing tax credit to Connecticut companies, DECD certified 58 companies with a gross floor space of 1,244,898 square feet; 6,297 jobs were retained and 928 new jobs were created.

 

·         DECD contributed a $6 million loan to Aetna Inc. to assist with the company’s efforts to improve its Hartford Campus and data center infrastructure.  The overall capital investment project will retain 7,266 jobs and create an additional 200 jobs.

 

·         Under the Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment (URA) Program, a tax credit program available to corporations that make a minimum investment of $5 million in distressed communities, DECD made 16 offers of assistance utilizing this program which resulted in $190 million in tax credits.  These credits are anticipated to create 2,544 jobs, retain 1,756 jobs, and leverage $591,250,000 in private investment.

 

·         DECD provided a $500,000 loan to Jonal Laboratories Inc., an aerospace and industrial components manufacturer, to expand their Meriden facilities.  The state funds assisted with demolition and equipment purchases, and the expansion resulted in the retention of 72 jobs and the creation of 8 new positions.

 

·         The Office of Financial Review conducted 385 audit report reviews covering DECD funded projects, completed over 55 business and housing financial reviews of potential DECD projects, and acquired $1.7 million in refunds by completing 203 financial closeouts for DECD contracts.

 

Small Business

·         DECD partnered with CCAT to administer the Small Business Incubator Program (SBIP) which is designed to defray the financial burden of maintaining and growing a technology-based start-up business.  The SBIP received a total of 55 applications requesting more than $2.4m in funding. A total of $900,000 in grants was awarded to twenty-two start-up companies operating in seven different incubator facilities.  Companies used the grants to acquire specialized equipment, build prototypes, conduct marketing, and protect intellectual property through patenting.

 

·         DECD provided matching funds to the CT Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), a program which helps Connecticut businesses apply for government contracts.  During FY 08-09, CT PTAP clients reported winning approximately $238 million in contract awards and the program experienced a 47% increase in requests for assistance from CT businesses.

 

·         CT PTAP also used DECD funding to host a Business Matchmaker in New Haven, an event which brought together 349 small businesses and 129 prime government contractors and government agents.

 

·         DECD provided financial assistance to two Entrepreneurial Centers in CT: The Entrepreneurial Center of the University of Hartford and The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) of Stamford.  Both organizations provide low-moderate income individuals, including persons on public assistance, with the skills and support to make the transition into independent entrepreneurship.  The Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Hartford assisted 252 individuals, and the success of its graduates led to the creation of 141 new jobs in Connecticut.  The Women’s Business Development Center of Stamford assisted 157 new individuals, and the ensuing development of new businesses created 79 new Connecticut jobs.

 

·         $285,000 was provided to support the Spanish American Merchants Association’s Technical Assistance & Resource Program.  The program enhances the growth of Latino/minority-owned small businesses to create job opportunities for residents of the community through the provision of a range of technical assistance, training and support services.

 

·         $233,310 was provided to Connecticut small businesses to facilitate commercialization of research projects funded under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.  The program removes tangible barrier(s) to commercialization, which enables a Connecticut business to realize significant non-R&D revenues derived from the production or service delivery of the technology to a targeted market.

 

Strategic Competitiveness

·         As part of the Aerospace and Defense Initiative, a program designed to increase the productivity of companies that supply the Connecticut Aerospace and Defense industry, CCAT awarded 98 grants totaling $586,271 to 42 Connecticut companies.

 

·         CONNSTEP, the leading resource center for Connecticut manufacturers, received funding from DECD to implement their successful Continuous Improvement Champion Certification program.  The attendees, who earned certificates after 12 weeks, experienced bottom line results in their projects such as $150K in annual savings through batch and set up reduction, and inventory reduction of $350K by implementing 5S, kanban and cellular manufacturing.

 

·         DECD continued to provide funding to the Connecticut Technology Council for their Innovation Pipeline Accelerator (IPA) program, which helps early stage innovative technology based companies to attract and harness in-state talent, to start entrepreneurial ventures that create jobs, and to make Connecticut an entrepreneur-friendly state.  The IPA added 48 new early stage companies in the past fiscal year, increasing the total number of participating companies to 554.

 

·         The IFS Center for Educational Excellence, a collaboration between Capital and Norwalk Community Colleges, The Workplace, Inc., the Insurance and Financial Services Cluster and DECD, has exceeded its original goal of training 400 individuals by providing assistance to over 700 people. The IFS Center helped to create an Associate of Science degree in Insurance and Financial Services, the first to be offered statewide and one of the first in the country.

 

·         In the spring of 2009, the IFS Center launched a digital marketing campaign called “REinventCT”. This campaign had over 6 million hits in the first weeks. It also developed an “Actuarial Boot Camp”, an intensive one week program for high school students interested in becoming actuaries. The goal of this program is to help Connecticut increase the number of young people interning this important profession.

 

RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT

·         DECD consolidated the Office of Brownfield Remediation and Development (OBRD) under the Office of Responsible Development (ORD) to create better synergies in implementing Governor Rell’s responsible growth agenda.  OBRD will remain a distinct office to continue its service as the state’s one-stop resource for brownfield programs and information.  The expanded ORD is in charge of initiatives involving responsible growth, municipal development and brownfield redevelopment.

 

·         DECD was active in encouraging responsible growth and regional economic development cooperation through active collaboration with: 1) the state’s eight regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) working groups; 2) the Mayor’s Institutes run by the Regional Planning Association; and 3) the Community Builders Institute’s educational forums.

 

·         DECD, in cooperation with DEP, streamlined the state flood plain certification process for brownfields and former mill sites.  This new process significantly improved the state’s ability to assist mill reuse by reducing the certification requirements and timeframes for review and approval.  The streamlined process was codified by the legislature during the 2009 session, pursuant to PA 09-235, and signed into law by Governor Rell.

 

·         DECD has been coordinating and supporting CONNDOT’s rail planning projects to improve rail service along the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury Branch Lines in addition to the New London Regional Intermodal Transportation Center and West Haven Rail Station. DECD has also been providing input to CONNDOT for the preparation of the CT State Rail Plan.

 

·         DECD has been actively participating on the ongoing Route 8 Deficiencies and Needs Study.  In addition DECD is managing the environmental evaluation under both NEPA and CEPA for the City of Waterbury’s proposed Waterbury Intermodal Transportation Center.

 

·         DECD grants totaling over $7,000,000 were used to fund construction contracts for infrastructure in communities such as Norwalk, Danbury, New Milford and Plymouth.  

 

·         DECD grants totaling over $15,000,000 were used to fund construction contracts at various development projects such as the Front Street Development in Hartford, 360 State Street mixed-use residential tower in New Haven, demolition and site preparation at the former Pinnacle Heights Development in New Britain and the Goodwin College Administration Building in East Hartford.  It should be noted all these projects are situated on existing brownfield sites.

 

·         DECD assisted the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) with the incorporation of responsible growth strategies into their 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP).  DECD also incorporated responsible growth strategies into their 2009 application rounds for HOME and Small Cities programs.

 

Housing Development

·         DECD executed contract awards totaling over $28.7 million for 19 projects in fiscal year 2009.  These monies will finance the creation or preservation of more than 550 units of housing in the following communities: Bridgeport, Hamden, Hartford, Middletown, New Haven, New Britain, Stamford, South Windsor, Milford, Somers, Vernon and Waterbury.

 

·         8 contracts were awarded under the Federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program for a total of $16,485,393 with the goal of creating or preserving 228 affordable units.

 

·         DECD awarded $8,255,000 in total funding for 6 affordable housing projects, expected to create or preserve 285 affordable housing units, under the State Housing Trust Fund Program.

 

·         2 contracts were awarded under the Predevelopment Loan Program for a total of $247,040 with the goal of planning activities related to the creation or preservation of 200 affordable units.

 

·         3 contracts were awarded under various other state funding sources for a total of $3,722,909 with the goal of creating or preserving 39 affordable units.

 

·         Through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), 10 contracts were executed with the following municipal sub grantees for the purpose of implementing the $25 million grant addressing the deterioration of neighborhoods related to the mounting foreclosure problem: Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Meriden, Stamford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, New London, Norwich, and Danbury.

 

Community Development

·         DECD administered 187 projects in Connecticut communities totaling over $106 million, including 10 new projects totaling over $2 million and 48 contracts totaling over $20 million.

 

·         DECD participated as a major partner and funder of the Connecticut Science Center, Inc. located at Adriaen’s Landing in Hartford. The statewide interactive science museum is expected to attract visitors from Connecticut and other Southern New England States.  The newest addition to Adriaen’s Landing celebrated its Grand Opening in June, 2009.

 

·         DECD awarded $13 million in Federal Small Cities Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to 28 Connecticut communities.  These grants are used to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable Connecticut citizens, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses.

 

·         DECD also received 42 CDBG applications requesting over $19 million in funding for FY 09-10, ensuring that next year’s funding process will be especially competitive.

 

·         The City of Torrington completed its Downtown Municipal Development Plan (MDP) with the assistance of a $504,875 grant administered by DECD.  The city will begin design of associated engineering work for related infrastructure improvements.  The MDP for the 142-acre downtown strives to enhance the competitiveness of the downtown area and strengthen Torrington as a regional center. 

 

·         The City of Hartford completed an MDP for the 295-acre Parkville area with a $180,000 grant administered by DECD.  The plan, which proposes infrastructure and site improvements that will revitalize the area and encourage economic activity and transit oriented development, will be formally adopted by the city in September 2009.  Three stations on the proposed New Britain-Hartford busway route will be located in Parkville. 

 

·         DECD completed an Environmental Impact Evaluation of the Borough of Naugatuck’s the Naugatuck Renaissance Place project.  The $150,000 study, completed in March 2009, supported the Borough’s revitalization planning for the 60-acre project area.  The borough and its preferred developer proposes a mix of land uses (housing, retail, office, recreational and public uses) along the Naugatuck River in downtown Naugatuck that incorporates smart growth principles such as transit-oriented development.

 

·         DECD provided financial and technical assistance to the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance in obtaining Connecticut Main Street designation.  As a result, the group is working to develop marketing strategies for the small businesses within the designated Westville business corridor in New Haven.

 

 

Brownfield Redevelopment

·         DECD continued to implement the first round of brownfield assistance under the Brownfield Municipal Pilot Program using responsible development criteria.  The communities of Norwalk, Stamford, Redding, Waterbury and Shelton were the five recipients of the grant awards.

 

·         The Special Contaminated Property Remediation Insurance Fund (SCPRIF) Program received applications for 7 new projects and approved funding for 2 new projects totaling $93,800.  The demand for the SCPRIF Program continued to grow during fiscal year 2009 with 2 new applications still under review for funding.

 

·         DECD provided $200,000 in funding to Pope Park Zion/SINA in Hartford for remediation funding from the EPA under the Hartford Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund.  This funding was used for the remediation of 4 residential building lots in preparation of new residential home construction.

 

·         DECD continued to fund projects under its $1,000,000 EPA grant for the Statewide EPA Revolving Loan Fund Program.  Under this initiative DECD is in the contractual phase for 2 projects.  The first project is a $200,000 grant to Georgetown Redevelopment Corporation in Redding for site remediation activities in support of the overall project redevelopment plan.  The second project is a $30,000 grant to Habitat for Humanity of Southeastern Connecticut (HFHSECT) to fund additional remediation expenses.  This grant is being provided in partnership with EPA which has already provided direct assistance to HFHSECT for site remediation funding prior to the construction of 2 new LEED certified residential homes in New London.

 

·         Under the Dry Cleaning Establishment Remediation Fund, 7 new grant and 11 supplemental grant applications were received for funding and are currently under review.  In addition, DECD approved applications from 12 dry cleaning sites which were pending approval from the previous fiscal years for a total of $910,000 in funding.  This year, DECD approved over $1.4 million in funding reimbursements for site investigations and remediation activities to 40 program participants.

 

Green Economy Initiatives

·         DECD partnered with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) to administer a comprehensive Biofuel Initiative designed to spur the emerging industry’s growth within the state and to encourage production of alternative energy sources.  The Biofuel Initiative has accomplished the following:

 

o   Under the Production Facilities program, 3 grants totaling over $1.7 million were awarded to Connecticut Biofuel producers.  These grants are expected to increase BioDiesel production capacity by 54.2 to 62.7 million gallons per year, leverage over $70 million in private investment, create an estimated 235 new jobs in Connecticut, and displace between 400,000 and 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

 

o   Under the Distribution Facilities program, 6 grants totaling $300,000 were awarded to 6 different Connecticut Biofuel distributors.  This program is expected to increase BioDiesel distribution capacity by 3.6 to 5.2 million gallons per year, create 26 new jobs in Connecticut, leverage over $4 million in private investments, and displace approximately 38,222 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

 

o   Under the Production Subsidy program, over $160,000 in funding was provided to Connecticut Biofuel producers.

 

·         DECD has also provided funding for CCAT to administer several other “green” programs:

 

o   Under the Fuel Diversification program, 4 Grants totaling $900,272 were awarded to three Connecticut institutions of higher education for algae research, Biofuel testing, and Biofuel catalyst development. These grants are expected to create economic opportunities for Connecticut businesses, improve fuel quality, advance technological innovation and improve energy security.

 

o   DECD has also collaborated with CCAT to develop a “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Economy” in Connecticut, a program that is designed to assess market conditions and economic development potential for fuel cell and hydrogen technology.  CCAT has provided information and technical assistance for the identification of approximately 3.3 MW of fuel cell projects that are technically and economically viable with state and or federal incentives.  This capacity would potentially realize $9,570,000 of state tax revenue, $112,200,000 of additional gross state product, and between 63 and 72 jobs created/retained if the projects are implemented.

 

o   CCAT administers the Center for Energy Solutions and Applications, which works to support a systematic installation of distributed energy technologies at small to medium sized manufacturing facilities in Connecticut.  Through this program, CCAT has provided information and technical assistance to over 23 companies of which four have begun to move forward to install solar or fuel cell technology. These projects would increase advanced renewable energy technology capacity by approximately 1.2 MW, potentially realizing approximately $2,400,000 of state tax revenue, $40,800,000 of additional gross state product, and between 23 and 27 jobs created/retained if the projects are implemented. Additionally, these projects could leverage approximately $1,980,000 of federal funds.

 

·         DECD, in partnership with Connecticut Innovations (CI) and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF), contributed $3 million to the launch of the new Connecticut Clean Tech Fund.  This new fund is making investments in seed- and early-stage companies focused on innovations that conserve resources, protect the environment, and eliminate harmful waste.

 

·         DECD provided a cost share match to CONNSTEP in order to implement a Green and Lean training program.  Three Connecticut companies have signed on for the new program, which is designed to help companies become more sustainable while also becoming more operationally efficient.