News Articles

Smith and Nephew seeks to expand

Mansfield News
April 2010

Mansfield — Cabot Partners industrial Park tenant Smith and Nephew wants to expand its Mansfield facility to the tune of $3 million, and add 20 new jobs to the roster, and representatives told selectmen they have been told by the company to find a way to do it, either in town or somewhere else.

They emphasized they would rather stay in Mansfield.

The medical technology business, a major presence in the 1,000-acre industrial park, will be requesting a significant tax break from town residents on the special Town Meeting warrant, May 4 in the form of an STA - a special tax assessment. Selectmen unanimously approved the warrant article March 31.

Voters have seen requests for “TIFs” — tax incentive financing programs — in the past, mostly for new companies seeking to establish themselves in the park.

The STA is slightly different, but is again a perk companies can access when they seek to expand within a specified “Economic Target Area” designated by the state. Not only do successful applicants get exempted from portions of the assessed value of the project property within the community, but they are also able to receive incentives at the state level.

Lynn Tokarczyk, president of the consulting firm Business Development Strategies, helped the company present its case to selectmen Wednesday. Also attending were state Rep. Jay Barrows, R-Mansfield, and members of the Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce.

The company, located in the park for 20 years, is one of a number of biotech businesses located within a specific zone within the park that has been set aside for biomedical industry and research.

The company recently opened its doors for tours by town officials and the committee that researches proposals for tax incentives, headed by Mansfield resident Don Cleary, who helped explain the proposal.

Selectman Jess Aptowitz had walked around the research and development building, and commented on the amount of equipment he saw. “It’s fascinating,” he said.

Smith and Nephew creates endoscopic equipment for minimally invasive surgeries.

Aptowitz noted Mansfield is the envy of surrounding communities in its ability to attract and keep high-end companies.

“Other towns are clamoring for this company,” he said. “The town can’t afford to lose such a vibrant company. It’s been a great creative neighbor.” Board member Kevin Moran commented,

“They are the prototype of what we want,” selectman Keviin Moran said. “These industries cluster. We want to create an attractive cell. This will keep Mansfield in the forefront. Maybe we will attract some small start-ups.”

Barrows said the overlay zoning district the town had created had gradually effected a change from warehousing to high-tech for the park.

Chamber representative Ed Tartufo said Mansfield continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the area. He said the town’s TIF committee that vets such proposals is highly selective when it recommends one.

“They don’t accept pizza parlors, doughnut shops, or Walmarts for TIFs,” he said. “They carefully weigh the benefits.”

Currently, Smith and Nephew pays Mansfield $152,664 in real estate taxes every year, and with the STA would pay the town $1,473,208 over the 13-year term of the agreement. Utility and hotel tax revenue realized from the company would total $10,607,129 over the 13 years.

The company hosts many medical personnel from other parts of the country and the world every year, using local hotels and restaurants, gas stations, and dry cleaners.

Under the STA agreement, the company would save $511,424 over 13 years, an average yearly savings of $39,340. The payments are graduated by year, the highest at the beginning of the 13-year period, and the lowest at the end.