News Articles


Town gets outside help in taking care of business

 

By Bradford L. Miner TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
January 23, 2008

 

 NORTH BROOKFIELD— It might have been one large bowl of alphabet soup – ETAs, EOAs, TIFs, EDIPs, SITCs and STAs.

Give credit to Lynn Tokarczyk, president of Business Development Strategies, for a presentation to selectmen and more than a dozen other town officials last night that explained each of the business-incentive acronyms and how they might make a community more attractive.

The community has the 5.9-acre North Brookfield Downtown Development Project site at School and Grove streets, also known as the former Aztec Industries/Asbestos Textile Brownfield site. It is looking to develop on that part of the property not used for the $3.1 million police station.

. Tokarczyk, a former employee of the state Office of Business Development during the Weld and Cellucci administrations, gave the community credit for all of the state and federal grants it has received or will receive in returning the Aztec site to the tax rolls.

Ms. Tokarczyk told the group that her expertise is in working with businesses to find not only a community and a site that’s a good fit, but state and local business incentive programs that on balance could make one site considerably more attractive than another.

She said among the most attractive programs to businesses are the state Economic Opportunity Area Investment Tax Credit of 5 percent and Tax Increment Financing for property tax relief for a period of 5 to 20 years from the host community.

She said the community should consider not only the benefits of a new company locating in North Brookfield, or an existing company expanding, but the multiplier effect on local business from both the company and its employees spending money locally.

Selectman James J. Foyle said selectmen will soon be sending out requests for proposals for a feasibility study addressing what companies in particular would be a good fit for North Brookfield, particularly on the Aztec site.

He said the study will be paid out of a $44,500 grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development and would be the next step in developing the former Aztec property.

“More than anything else, we want to find a business that will succeed here. We’re not interested in attracting someone only to have them fail. In fact we’re looking for a success story that will be a catalyst for economic development on Main Street and throughout the downtown area,” Mr. Foyle said.

Ms. Tokarczyk noted that since its inception in 1993 the state’s Economic Development Incentive Program has been credited with 1,091 EDIP projects, retaining 101,789 jobs statewide, creating 58,313 new fulltime jobs and providing the catalyst for $18 billion in private investment by businesses.