Somers: Correct Law, Save Jobs & Health Care in Groton

February 16, 2017

State Sen. Heather Somers Wednesday asked the Legislature to approve her proposal to change state law that would relieve the Odd Fellows nursing facility of a catastrophic property tax bill to the Town of Groton. She made her comments before the Planning and Development Committee in Hartford.

The legislation was requested by owners of the Odd Fellows home – Fairview – as an impasse has occurred between the facility and Groton over taxes due once the total value of the property exceeds $25 million. Groton believes Fairview can be taxed based on the entire value of its property while Fairview argues the law clearly limits its tax exposure to any dollar over the limit set.

The law shielding the Odd Fellows home goes back to 1893, before today’s tax structure was adopted. The “limit” or “cap” of total value has been moved up over the years legislatively to $25 million. Somers bill raises the limit to $35 million.

Fairview employs over 300 people – most of who reside in Groton – and Somers believes a large, potentially devastating tax bill would lead to layoffs and curtailment of care. Fairview originally provided nursing care under the fraternal “Odd Fellows” at a low cost. It currently provides acute care, housing for 55 years of age and older, long-term care and transition care.

“It would seem foolish if we cannot simply make clear what is required of Fairview and permissible by the town,” said Somers. “This facility is too important to Groton families, workers and the surrounding communities to lose or be restricting in fulfilling its level of care.”