In a move to promote agriculture and farming in the Town of Mansfield, the town council Monday adopted a Right-to-Farm Ordinance and Municipal Tax Incentives for Farms in Mansfield.
While Connecticut already has a Right-to-Farm Ordinance, state law allows municipalities to adopt a RTF Ordinance as a statement of support for local farmers.
"Just because we have a state statute does not mean that the town is always happy with the statute or buys into it," said council member, Denise Keane.
"By making an ordinance of this kind and reiterating that statute as our own town ordinance, we are saying that Mansfield prizes and values our farms and we are a farmer-friendly town and we want them here," she said. "It's a very powerful statement that we need to make."
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The four ordinances are:
- An Ordinance Regarding the Right-to-Farm;
- Farm Tax Abatements Ordinance;
- An Ordinance Providing a Property Tax Exemption for Farm Buildings; and
- An Ordinance Providing an Additional Property Tax Exemption for Farm Machinery.
[To view the full text of the ordinances click on the attached PDF file above.]
While the ordinances were ultimately adopted by an 8-1 vote, councilman David Freudman voted against the motion, saying he didn't believe it was necessary.
"You're carving out a special tax break for...farmers," Freudmann said. "It's bad governance. I really think it's wrong to tell one group of people you're entitled to a tax break and another group of people are not," he said.
"We are trying to support the idea of growing food locally," Mansfield Mayor Betsy Paterson said in response. "I see it as benefitting all of us in a lot of very different ways that I think are important," she said.
The ordinance will now take effect 21 days after the town advertises it.
According to the Mansfield Agricultural Committe, the town is one of many that have recently passed local RTF Ordinances. These towns include: Brooklyn, Bozrah, Canterbury, Colchester, Columbia, Eastford, Franklin, Hampton, Lebanon, Pomfret, New Milford, North Stonington, Sprague, Thompson and Woodstock, according to the committee.