MWDN: Southborough residents look to revive economic development panel

by susan on March 28, 2011

Southborough takes in about 20 percent of its tax revenue from businesses. The Metrowest Daily News reports that figure is on the low side compared to some neighboring towns which get up to 50 percent of their tax revenue from business.

A group of Southborough residents told selectmen recently they want to look at ways of fortifying Southborough’s businesses community in the hopes of bolstering the town’s tax base.

“There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit I think a strong economic development committee could address,” resident David Ferris recently told the board. “There’s a pretty big opportunity, we think, to potentially decrease the residential tax burden, balance our budget and protect this sort of fragile business base that currently exists in Southborough.”

The residents have petitioned selectmen to reinstate the town’s Economic Development Committee — which apparently existed in one point, but not in my (admittedly short) memory — to study ways to support businesses in Southborough.

You can read more in this article from the MWDN.

{ 3 comments }

1 Amy M nee Brennan March 29, 2011 at 12:07 AM

I am known for my anachronistic views on development as a child of Land trust parents but! … Also a friend of Dave Ferris and a frequent visitor of Nantucket and Kauai, HI, just returned! How about non- chain business options like the ones we have now… Tomassos, mauros, gulbankians, …. I would much prefer a local boutique but the thought of more chains and cookie cutter facades makes me fear our quaint town will melt into Framingborough!

2 Al Hamilton March 29, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Amy -

I think it is a question of what the goals of an economic development committee are.

If the goal is to provide a set of diverse goods and services for residents then your idea, and the policies that flow from it are quite reasonable.

It is no secret that residential property consumes more services than they pay for in taxes and businesses use less public services than they pay for. If the goal is to bring new businesses into our community for the purpose of helping us pay for our schools, fire and police then we need to cast as wide a net as possible and should make sure we have a level playing field for franchise businesses.

However, I think we should be encouraging more commercial and industrial development. Those types of businesses establish a more substantial economic footprint and yield far more substantial tax benefits. However, this will provide us with infrastructure issues in particular access to Rts 9, 495, 30 and the Pike.

3 Suzanne March 30, 2011 at 10:20 AM

If Southborough is really serious about expanding development and business along the Rt 9 Corridor then they need to take the bull by the horns and investigate installing sewer to that stretch of roadway.Currently Framingham sewer comes right to the Southborough border at the east end and Westborough sewer comes right to the Southborough border at the west end.If Southborough residents want their Town to look like those communities along Rt 9 then the first step that needs to be undertaken is a Sewer study connecting the two ends of the together, then all the land that is currently not developed along Rt 9 because it cannot support a septic system would become developable.Before wasting a tremendous amount of time and effort the first obstacle any Southborough Economic Development Committee needs to address is that any new development along RT 9 would require that the proposed project be able to support a septic system of adequate size to correspond to whatever type of building is being considered, without sewer RT 9 will stay pretty much the way it is now.

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