The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a ratified version of the proposed tax abatement for the Allen O'Neill apartments.

The decision gives the development a tax exemption for seven years; two years for construction, and five while the development time to get its operations up and running.

First Selectman David Campbell said the new version of the tax abatement wasn't different; some of the original wording had been changed.

Once the seven years had passed, the tax levels are expected to rise slowly to normal levels. However, if Allen O'Neill sees a higher rate of turnover than expected, the tax levels could be raised sooner.

Currently, Allen O'Neill houses 53 units, but after construction, the development will include 106 units. All residents will be relocated during the construction period and then allowed to move back into the new units.

Allen O'Neill sought funding through the Connecticut Housing Authority but was unable to secure money. However, the tax abatement and the ability to apply for a $250,000 Department of Housing and Urban Development grant provided a boost for the project.

During a meeting in November, Housing Authority Chairman Jennifer Schwartz explained why Allen O'Neill was seeking the abatement.

"In short, the reason for the tax abatement is to help the project in the early years," Schwartz said. "One of the key aspects of the operation is the assumption that all the existing tenants will be coming back."

Schwartz pointed out that the town had an existing policy of granting abatements but acknowledged that once the project was completed, the town would be unlikely to receive any PILOT money.

The BOS and Board of Finance approved the abatement in December before the measure went before the Representative Town Meeting in January. The RTM made slight changes to the wording of the measure before sending it back to the BOS.

The Town Assessor estimated the tax abatement would total about $106,000.

Republican Selectman Jayme Stevenson said she supported the abatement because all of the changes were appropriate.

The measure was approved by a 3-0 vote. Democratic Selectman David Bayne and Callie Sullivan were both away on vacation but had previously supported the abatement.