Simsbury loses top taxpayer as The Hartford prepares to move - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Simsbury loses top taxpayer as The Hartford prepares to move

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SIMSBURY, CT (WFSB) -

It was just two years ago this month that The Hartford shut down its Southington and Farmington offices to save money, and just after the start of 2013 efforts began to pack up another.

Channel 3's Jill Konopka spoke with town and local business officials in Simsbury who explained how the decision would impact them.

"It's definitely a shame," said Julienne Olvia, of Simsbury. "Where are they going?"

The Hartford Financial Services Group, dubbed one of the state's biggest insurance companies, is closing its 33-acre campus off Hopmeadow Street and is relocating roughly 1,500 employees to offices in Hartford and Windsor over the next two years.

"Simsbury is certainly challenged by the loss of The Hartford," Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman said.

And to say Glassman is disappointed might be an understatement.

The Hartford gives the town $1.6 million in tax revenues.

The town's budget is $18 million.

"They're are largest employer," Glassman said. "They provide a tremendous revenue, and are good corporate partners. We're sorry they made this decision. I think it's difficult for a town like Simsbury to react to such a big change. But we're working closely with them, trying to find new opportunities to use a great site."

Sad, too, are many local businesses who make money from the employees who frequent their restaurants.

"They usually come for happy hour, lunch, you know," Lime Bar & Grill bartender Daniel Houston said. "They're good for every Friday. They come down. It's a good crowd, along with other businesses as well. They definitely had their presence here."

He said they'll just have to make do.

"At its peak," he said, "they had over 3,000 (employees) over there. It's definitely a big number. We could definitely use something at that building in the future."

Together, The Hartford and town leaders are teaming up to find new opportunities for the facility. And already, according to Glassman, there has been interest.

Town officials said they are ready for the challenge so many other towns are facing too.

"Particularly, when you're in a state when your revenue comes solely from your tax base, Connecticut provides revenue strictly from our taxpayer," Glassman said. "So that really makes it more of a challenge than it makes for other communities across the state, but we're up for the challenge. We have unique assets in our community and we've attracted great companies before, and we'll attract a great company I know, going forward."

Officials at The Hartford wouldn't grant Channel 3 Eyewitness News an interview, but they did send a statement:

"Hartford has been the company's home for more than 200 years and the campus has ample space where a large number of employees already work. Windsor's site, layout and high tech and energy efficient features are the right fit for the current and future needs of our ongoing businesses."

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