Please come to special town meeting Tuesday 7-Aug-2012

Written by Webmaster
Thursday, 02 August 2012 21:14

[An open letter received from Lester Hensley, Chair of our Westborough Economic Development Committee. -- webmaster]

Dear Westborough Residents --

On Tuesday, August 7th, there will be a Special Town Meeting at 7pm at the WHS Auditorium. On the warrant will be just two Articles -- so the meeting should be short. The Articles being put before the voters are part of a broader economic development and job retention strategy for the Town of Westborough. Summer is a cherished time, but 50 people are required for a quorum at this meeting. If you are in town next week, I hope you will consider coming to town meeting to learn more about the the articles and cast your vote.

Below is some optional background and brief response to some of the frequently asked questions about the articles on the warrant.

Background:

Westborough's Economic Development Committee (EDC) has been working since 2008 toward a goal of moderating our residential taxes by shoring up and expanding our commercial tax base. We do this by identifying existing businesses in Westborough that might be looking to expand or to leave, and encouraging them to stay and to grow right here in town. We also do this by proactively engaging new businesses who are looking at space in our area and convincing them that there is no better choice than Westborough.

One of the tools we have for retaining and attracting business and jobs is Tax Increment Financing or a "TIF". In short, in return for a company's commitment to stay and grow and pay taxes here in Westborough over a given period of years, we can offer a modest (and declining) adjustment to the taxes on their incremental growth. Even more important to the company, by being granted a TIF at the local level, they then qualify for state incentives to finance their growth and keep jobs right here in Massachusetts. Two companies will be committing to Westborough through a 15 years TIF agreement at this special town meeting.

FAQs

Q. Why a Special Town Meeting now, in the middle of summer, to act on this?
A. Time is of the essence when competing to retain or gain businesses in Westborough. Neighboring towns with City Councils can approve TIFs at regularly scheduled meetings. We need a quorum of 50 at a Special Town Meeting to approve a TIF. The timing of this meeting would allow these two companies to qualify for a state program this Fall.

Q: Why 15 years? and how much of a tax incentive would we be giving?
A. The basic tax revenues from the current value of these businesses would remain the same. The tax incentive Westborough is offering starts at 50% of only the added value of expansion. So with these agreements we'd be collecting new revenues immediately. The incentive declines by 10% per year and then remains at 10% from years 6-15. The 15 year timeframe keeps the business qualified for State incentives on future expansion and gives them incentive to grow again in Westboorugh instead of looking elsewhere.

Q. What accountability does the business have to Westborough?
A. These agreements include job creation targets as the company grows. If the company does not meet its job creation goals, then the incentive can be revoked by the Town and we have the right to recover what the company gained through tax savings.

For more information on the specifics of the agreements, you can come and hear our presentation at Town Meeting, or you can read about them on the Town Manager's blog at this link.

Thanks so much for your consideration, and hope to see you at Town Meeting on Tuesday!

Best regards,
Lester Hensley
Chair, Westborough Economic Development Committee


Last Updated on Thursday, 02 August 2012 21:48