Some of you may not know about a legal battle between Southborough and Northborough over the high school construction costs. “Others may wonder, whatever happened with that?”
An article by telegram.com over the weekend informs us that the matter has finally been resolved. It’s a settlement that will cost Southborough taxpayers $1.7 million over several years.
The settlement stems from a dispute over how to split the expense of renovating and expanding Algonquin Regional High School.
In 2000, the towns agreed to split the costs based on enrollment. In the midst of the ’01-’08 project, the state developed a new formula for splitting expenses, which included socio-economic factors.
Using the Chapter 70B formula, Northborough officials asked Southborough to pay about $1.5 million more. Not surprisingly, Southborough said no deal.
The dispute led to a compromise put in front of 2009 Town Meeting voters to split the difference. Northborough supported it while Southborough voters resoundingly rejected it. In 2010, Northborough voters approved $100,00 in legal fees to bring our Town to court.
In 2013, a judge sided with Northborough. There had been no public word since, including whether or not Southborough would appeal.
This weekend, telegram.com reported on the long-time coming resolution:
According to Worcester Superior Court records, a judge in January accepted a settlement that will see Southboro pay Northboro $1.7 million over five to eight years. Southboro will pay Northboro “market rate” interest over the course of the repayment, the records state. . .
The settlement represents an end to a complicated, longstanding dispute over state reimbursement associated with the $61 million renovation and expansion of the school. The project was done from 2001 to 2008.
In April 2013, Worcester Superior Court Judge John S. Ferrara sided with Northboro’s legal case, but left it to the towns to determine the exact amount owed.
Court records show the case has been slowmoving since then, with the towns in May of 2014 agreeing that Northboro was owed $1.7 million.
The article refers to a February statement by the Board of Selectmen. The BOS states that the court ruled against Northborough’s request for a lump-sum payment:
“(It ruled) the payback could occur over a period of eight years, which will allow Southboro to pay its obligation through retiring debt service, which will limit the impact on departmental operations.”
For more details, read the full telegram article here.
You can read past coverage of the dispute here.
So, 2009 Town Meeting voters – any voter’s remorse out there?
- If you knew then what you know now, would you have voted for the compromise?
- Or, was the principal worth standing up for even at the greater cost?
Updated (2/10/15 8:45 am): As pointed out by a reader, I initially wrote the wrong timeline. I reported that Town meeting voted in 2010, when it was 2009.