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Westborough Voters OK Tax Deals for Two Companies

The special town meeting was held Tuesday night.

Westborough voters Tuesday night granted two businesses 15-year tax breaks as incentives for bringing an estimated total $1.6 million in additional taxes, and 83 total new jobs, here over that period.

The voters at the special town meeting nearly unanimously approved the tax increment financing agreements for MicroChem Inc. and Danafilms Inc. The votes also allow selectmen to create an economic opportunity area for both businesses.

The session in the auditorium lasted about 75 minutes. The proposed tax deals, which start next July 1, were the only warrant articles.

Selectmen will finalize the paperwork on the agreements at their next meeting, for submitting to the state, Town Manager Jim Malloy has said. Both firms would seek state investment tax credits, estimated at $460,000 for MicroChem and $400,000 for Danafilms.

MicroChem's tax increment financing deal would bring an estimated $1.3 million to $1.5 million in addtional taxes, as well as 63 new jobs, to Westborough, Malloy said during his presentation to voters.

MicroChem, currently in Newton, would buy 200 Flanders Road and make "a significant investment" in the site, President and CEO Jay Cole said. Malloy estimated the firm's total investment at $13 million.

MicroChem, which specializes in "chemistry for the microelectronics marketplace," seeks to expand, and "we feel that the Flanders Road facility really fits the bill for us," Cole said.

Meanwhile, Danafilms consultant Rod Jane said his employer's parent company is considering two sites for a roughly 20,000-square-foot expansion: 5 Otis St. in Westborough, and a location in Kentucky.

If the Westborough site is chosen, 62 full-time jobs would be retained, Jane said. Malloy said 20 more would be added under the TIF.

Malloy estimated the tax deal would generate $147,787 in additional taxes for the town. Danafilms would make an estimated total investment of $6.7 million, he said.

Steven Buttiglieri August 08, 2012 at 02:12 PM
These expansions are good news. However, we must resist the temptation to spend this extra tax revenue, but rather use it to reduce the tax rate and taxes for everyone in the Town, in order to become more competetive with surrounding towns in attracting more business. That would also give relief to residential tax payers, whose taxes have increased an average of 7.2% per year for the last 11 years.
Ed Behn August 08, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Steve - I completely agree with your warning about spending the extra tax revenue. It should be used to reduce the tax burden on all. While we have experienced a high rate of growth in our tax bills, I believe your 7.2% might be a bit on the high side. Can you please site your source of data and which measurement you are using for your calculation (i.e. tax rate or average family tax bill)? Thanks.
Steven Buttiglieri August 09, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I am referring to tax bills. I believe my source, though admittadly unscientific, is still accurate. We moved to Westboro in 2001, and in 2010 (after 10 years) I noticed our property tax bill had more than doubled. Using the Rule of 72, I knew that meant it went up an ave of 7.2% per year. I then asked about a dozen people I know from around town to check their tax bill from 2001, and all but 1 said it had at least doubled (the 1 exception had increased by 90%). Residential taxes are based on assessed value; % diff in AV changes can vary, though, between house types (e.g., new AV on a colonial can increase by 5%, but in same year, AV of ranch might only increase by 4%), but stay close together enough percentage-wise that I concluded all residential property taxes roughly doubled between 2001 and 2010. As for the 11th year, it was stated after the 2011 May Town Meeting that based on the budget that was passed, the average prop tax increase would be 7.25%. I know it's not a complete analysis, but it should be pretty accurate.

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