Economic “stewards” update town on their work; statistics on town’s economic growth (Updated)

The Economic Development Committee joined the Board of Selectmen last week. They brought with them an economic consultant to brief the board on Southborough’s economic statistics. The committee also provided an overview of the work they’ve been doing to strengthen the town’s economy.

Dave McCay of the EDC explained the committee’s work as “stewards for the local economy”. He stated the EDC’s mission:

to stabilize the tax rate by enhancing the commercial base. . . while we’re certain we preserve the things that are so important to Southborough, the rural charm of the community

MetroWest Economic Research Center’s Maureen Dunne informed the town that we’re on the right path.

The report from MERC, out of Framingham State, was funded by donations and town funds. The group compiled and broke down statistics on employment in Southborough since 1980.

According to Dunne, Southborough has “what everyone wants”, a skilled labor force and employers. Her advice was to continue with the work the town is doing.

Her report showed the town economy as strong, with consistent growth over three decades. From 1980-2012, jobs in town increased by 125% (ave. 3.9% growth per year as jobs went from 3,440 to 7,410.) And the salaries have exceeded the regional, state and national averages. (The 2012 average was $75,800.)

Dunne’s role was more informative than advisory. But she did advise:

  • Noting the disproportional impact that losing one manufacturer would have versus other businesses. (Manufacturing businesses represent a high salary sector and average 87 jobs per business, versus overall average of 17 jobs per business.)
  • Keeping “an eye on” making it easy to base a startup business in town.

Click here to read the full report.

In his earlier update, McCay outlined the efforts EDC is making to retain and grow the right business and development in town. He stated :

If we’re going to look to Capital Hill and Beacon Hill to solve our problems, I think we’re going to be disappointed.

Work includes the drafting of a permit guide to help businesses looking to establish themselves in town. (That is currently with the Town Planner with review. They hope to have a final version for BOS approval later this summer.)

They have also created a flyer to use at expos. And they are working on a website. What they view as possibly the most critical work is the “aggressive outreach” they’ve been doing to the businesses already here. They want to know what is working for them and what isn’t. And if they have plans to expand, they want to help them do that in town rather than looking elsewhere.

Updated (7/24/14 1:00 pm): I received permission to include a link to the report.

Updated (4/8/15 12:59 pm): Fixed misspelling of David McCay’s last name. Sorry!

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