Earlier this week we talked about the grim financial future facing the town. According to a recent analysis, if we stay on our current track, residents will be looking at a 4% tax increase this year and a possible Proposition 2-1/2 override next year. That’s precisely why the Board of Selectmen last week agreed things have to change.
“It’s time to take a look at how we do business and how we conduct business in this town,” Chairman John Rooney said.
To that end, Rooney proposed the creation of a new ad hoc committee to focus on economic development. The committee will be asked to brainstorm goals and strategies and to create a roadmap for taking advantage of economic development opportunities, Rooney said.
The new committee would be an officially-recognized town committee, subject to the state’s open meeting law and other guidelines, and would be separate from the privately-run Southborough Economic Development Team which founded last year, a group Rooney praised for its efforts to promote Southborough’s business community.
“There is no time to wait,” Selectman Dan Kolenda said of the effort to tackle the town’s financial challenges. “The economic climate is not getting any better…I have zero interest in being part of implementing higher taxes for residents.”
The board voted unanimously to create the ad hoc committee which will be comprised of the Chairman of the Board of Selectman, the town planner, business and nonprofit leaders, and residents.
One Jacobs Lane resident who attended the board meeting last week urged selectmen to maintain a broad perspective on improving the town’s financial situation by not assuming the answer lies with more development.
“You’re proposing a one-sided viewpoint that we must develop to get ahead,” the resident said, going on to say the committee should include a wider range of perspectives.
The board will select members for the committee at an upcoming meeting. If you’re interested, here’s the town’s announcement along with instructions on how to apply.
The Board of Selectmen have created a new ad hoc committee that will focus on fostering economic development, collaborating with business owners and residents in the community, seeking ways to increase the tax base and lessen the burden on taxpayers and developing solutions to streamline the permitting and licensing process.
If interested, please submit a cover letter and resume by Wednesday, February 6, 2013 to Vanessa Hale, firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to Town House, 17 Common St, Southborough, MA 01772.