EDC seeking to reduce quorum and add representation from other board(s)

by beth on June 22, 2020

The Economic Development Committee is seeking to make some changes to its composition.

According to a memo, last month the committee agreed that both it and the Town “would benefit from adding members of the BOS, Advisory Board and/or Planning Board to the EDC”. In addition, the committee is seeking to reduce its membership from 9 to 7, to reduce its quorum burden.

The committee currently has only 7 members and is about to lose one more. (In a memo to selectmen, member Kathy Bartolini informed them that she is resigning. She explained that after 50 years of public service, she decided it is time for a break.)

The memo doesn’t specify whether EDC is seeking for representatives from other boards to act in ex-officio capacity or to be counted among the 7 members.

It wouldn’t be the first time that selectmen shifted the committee’s membership numbers.

The EDC was reduced from 9 to 7 members back in 2014 for quorum issues. Following the change, three volunteers put forward their names for two seats. In a split decision, selectmen voted to raise the membership to 8 members. In 2016, the membership was raised back up to 9 members. (That year, five applicants had applied for two seats. After the committee voted to support two applicants, they asked selectmen to make room to also add Bartolini, due to her extensive experience in the public sector.)

As for the representation request. . .

In recent years, the EDC has been championing an initiative to revitalized downtown Southborough. As part of the work, they have been pushing to revise zoning code to allow for mixed uses in the Downtown Business Village. The committee has publicly pushed for the Planning Board and selectmen to take a more active role in that effort. 

The EDC ran in to procedural problems when it attempted to include a zoning Article in the Annual Town Meeting Warrant earlier this year. After informing the committee that the Article would need to wait for a Fall Special Town Meeting, selectmen pledged to take a more active role.

Selectmen are scheduled to discuss EDC’s request during tomorrow night’s 6:30 pm meeting. You can find the agenda and packet here. (The memo is on page 44.)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jack Barron June 23, 2020 at 8:46 AM

EDC has done a very poor job in helping to bring new tenants to the many empty properties on RT 9 in particular. This group is funded to the tune of 40,000 per year and is not delivering on their funding.

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2 Tom June 23, 2020 at 3:51 PM

Agree with Mr. Barron. This scofflaw, self-serving greedy bunch should be disbanded. This group has an abysmal track record. It is loaded with scofflaws and claim “technical” difficulties in “process.” With the on-going economic crisis and pandemic, $40,000 is a complete waste of taxpayer dollars.

It is not the task or mission of the EDC to bring “tenants” to a developer’s property. Developers are fully capable of increasing their own profits and hiring their own leasing brokers to do that for them. This EDC makes a “major” announcement of a new tenant on Route 9, like they had something to do with it. Ludicrous.

This group needs to be disbanded and the town needs to start over. Stop wasting money on this unprofessional, scofflaw group. With so much turnover (a new chairperson every few weeks with every screw-up) and quitting members, clearly this committee needs disbanding for now.

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