News Articles

Board of Selectmen approve TIF for Barry Controls

Selectmen vote for Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
Hopkinton attracts major company - Barry Controls
Selectmen vote Town Meeting Articles
School Department wants Approx 3.5 million debt exclusion and another $250K from Stabilization fund

March 1, 2005

The Board of Selectmen got their approval to join an Economic Target Area (ETA), which includes towns both west and north of Hopkinton, excluding Southboro. This designation allows the town to offer business incentives for those wishing to locate in Hopkinton.

As part of this designation, the Selectmen voted to put an Article (59) on the Town Warrant to approve Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for Barry Controls, which, according to its website, "is the leading supplier of aircraft vibration isolators and cabin noise reduction systems in the world."

The article specifies 82 South Street, which the company plans to lease, as the address for the new manufacturing plant.

"Hopefully, we can fill some of the space on South Street," said Selectman Ron Clark. Lynn Tokarczyk from Business Development Strategies, Inc. was on hand to explain the benefits of the ETA.
"A particular company which actually jump-started this process is waiting for this placeholder," said Ms. Tokarczyk, referring to the Article.

TIFs have been used in Milford for many years, attracting companies to develop in such places as Granite Park, an area which was considered more difficult to develop because of its land. A TIF exempts a business from paying personal or property taxes in full for a number of years. It is unclear what specifics have been discussed with this company, but the Selectmen have championed business development in Hopkinton and on South Street in particular.

One of the first orders of business was to declare the month of March as Youth Appreciation Month. Chair of the Youth Commission, Michele Lenk, was on hand to plead for, "The unsung heroes as well as those who shine."

State Representative Paul Loscocco and State Senator Karen Spilka appeared jointly to offer a legislative update.

"It has been my priority to increase local aid for Hopkinton for education, largely due to the enrollment growth. Karen is working with me," said Rep. Loscocco.

"Hopefully, more money will be coming back to the cites and towns," said Senator Spilka. "There is a change in the SBAB (School Building Assistance Bureau). Hopkinton will be getting back 75% of the money in one lump sum," she said referring to the reimbursement rate the state pays for new school construction.

"Twenty percent of our population is under 10 years-old," said Eric Sonnett, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen. "Pressure is put on our infrastructure. We can't absorb it locally," he said.

"We send a lot of money to the state and what we get back is outrageously low," he said.

The School Committee was represented this evening by its Chairman, Dave Stoldt, who presented the reasons for his several articles, one of which combined the architectural plans for a new elementary school on the Fruit Street property with improvements at Elmwood School.

Other articles included prefabricated classrooms and computer updates for two schools.

The total of his request is about $3.5 million in debt exclusion and $250,000 from the stabilization fund.

Conceptual drawing of the proposed Senior Center by Gorman-Richardson Architects

Scott Richardson, from the Hopkinton firm Gorman Richardson Architects , explained to the Selectmen the progress of the Senior Center Building. The building's basement was dropped from the plans to help keep the growing costs down, especially in light of 30% increase in some of the products used in construction.

Articles 37 and 43 caused the most consternation of the evening.

Article 37 reads like this: Reed Park, to purchase or take by eminent domain land adjacent to Reed Park. Sponsor: Open Space Committee.

Chairman of the Planning Board John Coolidge and member of the Open Space Committee, on hand to explain his Board's numerous Articles, was reluctant to disclose the land owner or party he was in discussions with.

After the meeting, he told a reporter that he didn't want to disclose the person for fear that it would cause an unjust uproar with a group opposed to proposed Ron Nation development of the land in question. He said the phrase "eminent domain" is included in all such land articles. The land is sold on contingency, and the development is in the approval stages.

Selectmen wondered why Mr. Coolidge was trying to buy the land when the Parks and Recreation Commission sponsored Article 43, which asks the town to accept land in that very area as a gift.

When pressed, he explained that he was negotiating with the developer of the land, and not the owner, with whom he had previous discussions before the developer's pending purchase.

Mr. Nation said he is not considering selling the property to the town at this time. "I am just going through the process," he said, referring to his application for approval of his 37 unit development. It is within that proposal that the land has been offered.

© 2005