What should Southborough look like in 25 years? EDC shares 2040 Summitt video; seeks feedback

Above: Video of last week’s Southborough 2040 Business & Nonprofit Summit (produced by Southborough Access Media).

Last week, the Town of Southborough hosted a 2040 Business & Nonprofit Summit. The focus was sharing relevant information and seeking input as the town plans for the next 25 years.

Now the Economic Development Committee is sharing the event video in an effort to seek wider community feedback.

The EDC shared:

Our challenge is how Southborough will plan to meet the economic, demographic and land use challenges ahead. One key to our success will be how well we collaborate with all the industry sectors including businesses, non-profits, residents and the public sector to assure our economic wellness.

Participants heard information on that may impact the town’s ability to grow and prosper. That included:

  • our town’s economic profile
  • regional, state and national influences on our local economy
  • projected demographics

From here, the EDC plans meet to prioritize possible next steps. Those will be reviewed with the Board of Selectmen and interested members of the community to obtain their guidance for moving forward.

But first, they are seeking more feedback. If you are interested in this issue but weren’t able to attend last week, you can check out the video above. You can also view it directly via You Tube or broadcast on SAM Public Access Channel (Charter-191 and Verizon-38):

  • Saturday, November 15th at 9 AM
  • Sunday, November 16th at 6 PM
  • Monday, November 17th, Wednesday, November 19th & Friday, November 21st at 9PM,
  • Tuesday, November 18th and Thursday, November 20th at 8 AM

(That schedule will repeat for 2 weeks.)

If you’d like to provide feedback to the EDC, you are welcome to join their next meeting. They will convene on Wednesday, November, 19 at 8:00 am in Town Hall.

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carl Guyer
8 years ago

I wish thank the Southborough Economic Development Committee and Saint Marks for organizing such a great event. Nothing like this conference happens easily and we should be thankful for the hard work of the committee. The presentations were well received and do represent a significant effort to understand the economic dynamics shaping the towns character.

I do wish to put forward a couple of ideas associated with the presentations.

The first presentation outlining the demographics of the 7400 people working at companies within Southborough is useful information, was very detailed and interesting. The next reasonable step is to identify how many of the 5500 “workers” in Southborough are associated with companies in Southborough. As an indication of what may be typical, by chance I happened to be seated next the head of HR at KAZ, Inc. I do know they employ about 150 people at their Southborough location, so I asked how many people KAZ employed were Southborough residents. I expected a relatively low number, but was surprised to learn there are no residents of Southborough employed by KAZ. That is correct, the number is zero. Unless KAZ has an employment policy of excluding Southborough residents, it is reasonable to assume this hiring pattern is typical of the larger establishments in any town in this era of commuting employees. If we proceed with encouraging more companies to locate in Southborough without understanding the extent commuting has on employment demographics, a strategy of achieving economic growth through increased employment of residents may be in erroneous.

I have to be honest and say that I know my question to the KAZ HR person had a high probability of yielding a low head count, but even I was surprised to hear zero. I have asked this question many times of businesses in Southborough. My reason for asking was recruiting for our local Rotary Club. One of the reasons membership in the Rotary Club is down is that most of the employees of local businesses leave town to go home. It is not a scenario that allows them the time to be involved with local town projects.

The other point I would like to make relative to the presentations is related to the opening comments made by Mr. McCay, Chairman of the Committee. As he stated the goal of encouraging expansion of the commercial and industrial base in the town is to “stabilize” the tax rate. Data from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue does not support this assumption. It indicates that increasing the commercial and industrial tax base typically destabilizes, or more accurately increases the tax rate, to an extent that 75% of the municipalities with a commercial and industrial tax base greater than Southborough’s current base are forced to implement a split rate tax structure to preserve a reasonable tax rate for residents. It is the historic commercial and industrial base that pays a heavy tax penalty for expansion not the residents.

So be warned, any attempt to increase Southborough’s current CIP tax base in the hope of producing favorable employment or tax rate results above the current value of 20% is asynchronous with other communities with a similar residential tax base.

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