Town seeking volunteers for Economic Development and Municipal Technology committees

by beth on September 13, 2017

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Two committees revamped under articles approved by Town Meeting voters are good to go. Now they just need members.

Back in April, voters approved articles that took the Economic Development Committee and Municipal Technology Committee out of ad hoc status. (Along with that came a lot of change to how the MTC will work.) But before those committees could be officially adopted by the Town, the Attorney General’s office needed to sign off.

According to an announcement by the Board of Selectman, that has happened. Now selectmen are asking for volunteers to step up:

The Board of Selectmen seeks volunteers for the Economic Development Committee and the Municipal Technology Committee. Both groups have been approved to be permanent standing committees by Town Meeting and the Attorney General. . . 

Current members welcome to submit their name for consideration as well.

Please complete an application at https://southboroughmaboards.vt-s.net/newcaf.php or submit your resume and a letter of interest to selectmensoffice@southboroughma.com.

Deadline: Friday September 29, 2017.

If you have questions about either committee, please also direct them to selectmensoffice@southboroughma.com.

The announcement included the final versions of the Warrant Articles approved by voters for each committee. They describe each group’s mission. 

Economic Development Committee:

The mission of the Southborough Economic Development Committee (EDC) is to stabilize residential taxes through the growth of the Town’s commercial and industrial tax base while preserving the character and charm of Southborough. The EDC is established to expand and strengthen the local economy, promote job creation, and enhance the Town’s quality of life through prosperous, balanced and sustainable economic development.

The role of the EDC is to investigate current economic conditions, assist the Town with the creation and execution of appropriate economic development initiatives and marketing opportunities, coordinate activities to enhance or expand economic development, and engage in related activities as necessary to further EDC’s mission and purpose.

You can read the full EDC article here.

Municipal Technology Committee:

will be responsible for creating a rolling fiveyear Strategic Plan for the Town’s technologies across all government entities, and will ensure consistent interpretation and execution of that plan. The committee will work in collaboration with the various government entities that use/propose technologies. It will report on the plan to the Town Meeting and advise Town Meeting on proposed expenditures for technology

You can read the full MTC article here.

If you are considering volunteering for Town government, you should also note that the Southborough Cultural Arts Council is also looking for volunteers. Read about that here.

1 Carl Guyer September 15, 2017 at 9:59 PM

If you are considering volunteering for a position on the Southborough’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) you might consider the following.

The EDC is dedicated to the proposition that increasing the size of the commercial and industrial tax base in Southborough will provide real estate tax benefits for the residential taxpayers in the town. They are vehemently opposed to changing our single tax rate policy which charges the same real estate tax rate for residential, commercial and industrial property owners to a split rate charging a higher tax rate on commercial and industrial property than the rate charged for residential property. They warn the Board of Selectmen, who set our tax rates, that a split rate will diminish our tax base and cause higher tax rates.

What you should know is data from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue contradicts all these assertions made by the EDC. To start, if you download the data at the DOR website, you will find that increasing concentrations of commercial and industrial development result in a trend of higher real estate tax rates, not the lowering of tax rates as believed by the members of the EDC. In a comical sense, the only way you can produce the downward trend the EDC claims is to the plot the data upside down.

If you are willing to overlook the demographic data from the DOR, there is the issue with the ability of the EDC to achieve their stated goal of growing the commercial and industrial tax base. Over the past 5 years the EDC has been functioning, the portion of Southborough’s tax base that is commercial and industrial property is shrinking. Not only are they ignoring the real demographics existing in our state, they are having difficulty causing the affect they profess will be beneficial to residential taxpayers. They are not only wrong in their assessments; they also are feckless in achieving their stated goal, however misguided it may be.

All this would be benign if it were not for their influence on the Board of Selectmen. Their haranguing on the evils of a split tax rate is proving to be costly to the residents. They have created a situation that is now costing the residential taxpayers 3.5 to 7.0 million dollars per year. For the average residential taxpayer this translates to $1,000 to $2,000 per year. They think any increase in our commercial and industrial tax rate will be disastrous. They are unaware that our current commercial and industrial property is taxed at a rate lower than that paid on 75% of the commercial and industrial property in the state. That is while the residential property tax rate is higher than the tax rates paid on 78% of the residential property in the state. Maybe they think this is an equitable scenario.

By the way, as for our commercial and industrial tax base evaporating under a split tax rate, you should be aware of the fact that 78% of the commercial and industrial tax base is located in split rate communities. Seems commercial and industrial property owners don’t really think split rates are a major issue for them.

So if you are considering volunteering and approach problem solving in an analytical method, you will find life on the EDC interesting.

2 Matthew Brownell September 17, 2017 at 12:01 PM

Great post, Carl –

I think it’s also interesting to note that when Board of Selectmen Chair Dan Kolenda ran for Selectman years ago, he campaigned on a pro-development platform that would help alleviate the disproportionately higher, lopsided taxes that Southborough’s residents pay.

So far, I am definitely * NOT* seeing seeing this . . . 😂

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