Friday, April 27, 2012
GOING...GOING...WILL THEY BE GONE?
Hartford is not business friendly when it comes to taxes for companies already in Hartford or companies considering relocating to Hartford. We also know that we have lost more small businesses and jobs than have been created for years. But what is being done to retain businesses that are already here?
Although no one at City hall seems to be available to comment, at least one case is showing that very little is being done to keep Pitney Bowes Mail Services in Hartford.Pitney Bowes has a rather large facility located at 101 Locust Street in Hartford. They have apparently put the word out to their employees to expect the operation to move to Windsor in the next few months.
One source ,that wished to remain anonymous, claims that in a conversation with Pitney-Bowes management they were told that the decision was being based almost entirely on the property tax savings by a move to Windsor.Windsor's mill rate is almost half of Hartford's.
Nothing may be able to be done at this point to change that decision, but how many companies are we going to let go without a fight? Several unrelated sources have spoke with me expressing their frustration as to how the matter is being handled. Apparently the Mayor's Office is well aware of the move. The frustration level rises with what appears to be little movement to keep the company here.
Mayor Segarra's Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec was made aware of the situation through an e-mail from what I am told. The response from Kupiec was that "I forwarded your e-mail to COO David Panagore". That e-mail was forwarded to me third hand but it appears to be legit.
In a City that was serious about retaining businesses and economic development, I would have moved for a much different response. If I were in that position and knew that 130 jobs, primarily local residents, were on the line I would have been in the Mayors Office in a heartbeat. I would have told him "Come on , we need to go for a ride" and would have headed directly for Pitney-Bowes. They should have immediately met with the management and begin working up the chain of command to find the decision maker that could reconsider the move and do what was needed to try to reverse the move.
But no... in true Hartford style "I forwarded your e-mail to COO David Panagore".
If there was truly a relationship between Mayor Segarra and Governor Malloy, a successful conclusion for Hartford seems like it could be worked out. For anyone who has witnessed the interaction between the two lately, I am not sure where that relationship actually stands. Although on the positive side for Governor Malloy, the company is staying in Connecticut from what sources tell me. But if no one is making the moves to save those Hartford jobs, nothing will change.
One community leader I spoke with explained to me the fight they had to get sidewalks along Airport Road because so many of the jobs in the South Meadows and Locust Street area are held by local residents, many of them who walk to work. Many of those people will not be able to commute to Windsor due to various reasons. Bottom line is that good paying jobs for local residents are being allowed to move, with what appears to be no fight at all.
The list of jobs lost over inattention to what's happening in the business community as well as stubbornness should not be happening. Channel 3, ING, Metlife, Sunshine Laundry, Gordon Bonnetti Florist and the list goes on and on. Let's not add 130 jobs at Pitney-Bowes to the list.
Calls to Pitney Bowes and the City for comment have not been returned.