When Newington is New Britain

There’s an editorial in Saturday’s Courant about the relocation of a Department of Social Services regional welfare services center out of downtown New Britain to a location that’s both more expensive to rent and less convenient for the families who use it. It’s bad enough that the service center moved over the objections of local leaders, but apparently DSS broke a promise in doing it by moving to (gasp) Newington.

Second, the new office, which opened in February, is in Newington, which violates the agency’s pledge to keep the service center in New Britain. Or is it in Newington?
 
Miraculously, state officials waved a magic wand and postal authorities declared 30 Christian Lane, Newington — the address of the new DSS building — to be 30 Christian Lane, New Britain. Thus, the agency’s promise was kept, sort of.

Wait–what? You can’t just change a location like that. I decided to resolve this: with maps!

Newington has a great selection of maps on their website, and I found just the thing: an aerial view of the location overlaid with GIS data. Here’s the .pdf of the area in question. This is right around the neighborhood where I grew up, by the way, so I’m pretty familiar with the area. I have helpfully labeled a piece of that map, to illustrate where DSS is proposing to move. It isn’t in New Britain:


 
As the image clearly shows, 30 Christian Ln. is in Newington, so they did in fact break that promise–postal re-addressing or no. Town boundaries are serious things, and not to be messed with lightly!

Worse, it’s across the train tracks from New Britain proper, and in the middle of an industrial park far from any residential areas. I quickly checked the bus system map, and no, it seems that the buses don’t run there. So unless people have a car, they are out of luck.

Way to go, DSS.
Update: Apparently there is a DATTCO bus line that runs out there and turns around in the parking lot. It doesn’t show up on the CT Transit system map, but does exist. DATTCO is across the street from the new service center.

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9 responses to “When Newington is New Britain

  1. easthartfordtaxpayer

    If the state has the pull to change postal addressing why don’t they have the pull to get the congress to balance their budget…

  2. Great graphics.

    I think this points back to the Governor and her total inattention to government service. As long as the press releases are positive, no one has really cared what’s going in on the agencies for years. And this is what you get.

  3. SouthernWreck

    I think this points back to the Governor and her total inattention to government service….And this is what you get.

    Yeah, a siting decision like this likely isn’t made at Commissioner level anymore – ‘Moody level’. Would that we still had investigative reporters…..who got paid, who knows who.

    Press releases – oh, and the polls, the polls! She must be doing a great job?

  4. Yeah, a siting decision like this likely isn’t made at Commissioner level anymore – ‘Moody level’. Would that we still had investigative reporters…..who got paid, who knows who.

    Oh, no doubt. Because this is just the tip of the iceberg — there’s a huge plot afoot to … um … change the ZIP codes of every state agency in Connecticut!!

    Because that way the governor and Lisa Moody (when she’s not eating roasted kittens) can … um … well … yeah, they can … change ZIP codes!!

    It’s like the power to cloud men’s minds, only with the mail!! What if that power were put to her usual nefarious uses?

  5. I am not familiar with this area, but if the address is changed, that presumably doesn’t mean that the town boundaries changed. Where do the owners of this building and the surrounding building submit their property taxes.

    There is an area on the Greenwich / Stamford border that has a Greenwich mailing address, but those people still must send their children to Stamford schools, and they cannot get a parking pass for the Greenwich beach, etc.

    Moving the mailing addresses does have a bigger effect, however. Every couple of months, there’s some politician (almost always a Democrat) who proposes letting the towns levy some sort of sales or income tax, not just the state. However, when you make more mailing addresses not coincide with actual town boundaries, you make a mess trying to levy this tax. Can you imagine if someone orders something via mail order from Best Buy? Best Buy has stores in Connecticut, so they’d have to collect the sales tax. But if someone has a Newington address, do they submit those sales taxes to Newington or New Britain? Would every single mail order place have to have an incredibly detailed house-by-house map of Connecticut? (For brick and mortar stores, the sales tax would be levied by the town where the store is located, but for mail order, it’d have to be based on your home address). If businesses had to withhold taxes for local income taxes, they’d have to know where every person lived, and couldn’t rely on the address.

  6. Don’t mess with a medieval general with a cartographic obsession!!!!

    Nice job, Genghis!

  7. Mailing addresses are based on where your property meets the street, so it’s actually plausible that this property could be considered to be in New Britain by the USPS. For property tax purposes (or, in this case, PILOT transfers), the property looks to be at about 99% in Newington.

  8. Every couple of months, there’s some politician (almost always a Democrat) who proposes letting the towns levy some sort of sales or income tax, not just the state. However, when you make more mailing addresses not coincide with actual town boundaries, you make a mess trying to levy this tax. Can you imagine if someone orders something via mail order from Best Buy? Best Buy has stores in Connecticut, so they’d have to collect the sales tax.

    Consumers never submit sales taxes directly to the state, and wouldn’t submit them to the municipalities either. A Best Buy on the border of two towns would know which one should receive their quarterly sales tax check. An out of state depot mailing goods would presumably not pay sales tax to any municipality.

  9. Consumers never submit sales taxes directly to the state, and wouldn’t submit them to the municipalities either. A Best Buy on the border of two towns would know which one should receive their quarterly sales tax check. An out of state depot mailing goods would presumably not pay sales tax to any municipality.

    That’s not what I’m talking about: I was talking about online (or phone) orders that are sent via UPS to your house.

    You go to Bestbuy.com and order something. They have to pay the sales tax to Connecticut, because Best Buy has stores in CT.

    When you buy something at the BB in West Hartford, West Hartford would get the local sales tax. But if you ordered from Bestbuy.com, then Best Buy would remit the sales tax to where you lived (what the heck else would they do?). So Best Buy sees that your address in New Britain. But do you really live in New Britain? Not necessarily. You might live in New Britain.

    So Bestbuy.com, and all other places that take online orders but which have operations in CT, would need to have a database of every single house in the state, and what town it was really in, since the mailing address would be meaningless.

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