We’ve all heard the dire predictions about how tough things are going to be next year for municipal budgets, but last night the town got some good fiscal news. More than $1.3M the town had been holding in reserve has just been freed up thanks to the settling of some lawsuits.
The lawsuits were between the town of Southborough and AT&T regarding the valuation of property in town owned by the telecommunications company — in particular, switching stations. The Southborough Board of Assessors had been holding nearly $2M in reserve pending the outcome of the lawsuits.
At last night’s Board of Selectman meeting, Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano announced the suits were all recently resolved. According to the settlement, Southborough will pay out about $470K. The rest of the money — more than $1.3M — will be made available to the town.
The dispute over the telecommunications property dates back to 2004, and Cipriano said reaching a settlement was “complicated.” Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf commended Cipriano and Town Assessor Paul Cibelli on reaching a resolution. “A lot of hours have gone into this,” she said.
Southborough wasn’t alone in its dispute with AT&T. Other towns in the state face similar legal challenges, but Cipriano said Southborough was the first town in the Commonwealth to resolve their dispute.
Presumably it will be up to Town Meeting to decide how to allocate the $1.3M windfall. If it were up to you, what would you do with the money? Hire back some teachers? Restock the stabilization fund? Buy St. Mark’s another lawn mower?