Dudley Economic Development Committee meets at Nichols College –
Tax increment financing discussed
by Janet Stoica
DUDLEY - Monday night’s forum drew a smaller than expected group of townspeople and business owners, but the meeting was enlightening and rewarding for the Economic Development Committee. Members in attendance were Jo-Ann Szymczak, Andrew O’Keefe, Marcia Wagner, Ellen Laprise, and Bob Chalue.
Jo-Ann Szymczak opened the forum, held at the Daniels Auditorium on the Nichols College campus, by stating that the event was an opportunity for townspeople and businesses to express their vision for Dudley’s economic future. “We’re here to get input and thoughts from you,” she said. Andrew O’Keefe further stated “Tell us what you want us to do….what types of businesses do you want in Dudley? If we don’t bring in new businesses, our taxes will rise higher and higher.
The purpose of this committee is to bring in business to Dudley, to assist in developing a good tax base for all of us.” Mr. O’Keefe then walked out into the audience with his microphone asking those in attendance if they’d like to offer their comments. Mr. Lee Foshay of I.F.Engineering Corp. took the microphone and expressed his thoughts about “the need for long-term goals and how these goals would bring business in.” He stated that Dudley is a “clean town” and clean businesses would be a good fit.
Dan Prouty of Millyard Industrial Properties of Charlton City spoke about how he likes to look at the historical aspect of where a town’s past has been. He commented that he remembers the past vibrancy of downtown Webster and Dudley. “If I were the mayor of Dudley,” he stated, “I’d realize that it isn’t about the tax rate, but how many new businesses could spin off from bringing in other industries.” Employees of these new industries would eat, live, and shop in the community, bringing in additional town revenue. Ms. Szymczak then commented that “the Committee has looked at West Main Street and how this street should be developed. A local insurance agency on West Main has maintained a well-groomed and professional-looking building, which is a great standard.”
Ms. Szymczak further stated that “within a year we’d like to have a final report in place that showcases Dudley’s benefits for potential business developers and it would include a permitting process checklist, highway access information, and a street grid plan.” Mr. O’Keefe then reminded the attendees that they are always welcome at their twice-monthly meetings held on the 3rd floor of the Dudley Municipal Complex every second and fourth Monday of the month. He urged everyone to attend these meetings as well as the upcoming Dudley selectmen’s meeting on Monday, August 6, at 6:30pm, where he will be a speaker on the agenda.
Mr. Prouty then voiced his opinion using IPG Photonics as an example of Oxford’s benefitting from the company’s expansion through the use of Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”). He stated that this type of industry is less likely to leave the area for another state as they now have a well-trained technical labor force right here. It appeared that the major points of contention were that Dudley requires a quicker permit policy and an advocate for making it easier for businesses to locate here. At this point Mr. O’Keefe made the point that he “wants to keep Dudley rural but realizes the need for a larger tax base.” He declared “We, as a committee, are willing to do whatever it takes to get business here but want Dudley to still retain its ambience.”
Ms. Szymczak closed the forum by saying “we need organized growth for a great co-existence/mix of residential and business life. We love our town and want the best for it.” She thanked all those in attendance for their comments, suggestions, and ideas.
- Wednesday, 01 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News