Councilor: Fitchburg must do more to keep businesses
At-large City Councilor Marcus DiNatale said he doesn't know why New England Wire Products has decided move its operations from Fitchburg to Leominster.
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#1 Mar 15, 2013
Councilor: Fitchburg must do more to keep businesses
By Jack Minch, [email protected] om
Posted: 03/15/2013 06:39:21 AM EDT
FITCHBURG -- At-large City Councilor Marcus DiNatale said he doesn't know why New England Wire Products has decided move its operations from Fitchburg to Leominster.
But he said Fitchburg isn't doing itself any favors when it comes to attracting and keeping businesses in the city.
"I have said for years the city of Fitchburg is at a disadvantage to Leominster in terms of property-tax rate for commercial and industrial and utility rates, which we have no control over," DiNatale said Thursday.
Fitchburg's commercial tax rate is $25.26 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, while Leominster's is just $17.96.
"I'm not saying this is a reason, but to me it is a considering factor whether to come to Fitchburg or leave," DiNatale said.
Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong and city councilors this week said they are disappointed New England Wire made the decision to leave the city, but insisted they do not have ill will toward Leominster.
The Leominster City Council created an economic opportunity area and gave the company, which produces display racks for retailers, a tax-incentive financing package for making $250,000 in improvements to a 199,270-square-foot facility at 9 Mohawk Drive in the city and creating 100 new jobs.
The company announced it is transferring 117 jobs from its 85,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on Airport Road in Fitchburg in order to grow the business.
The company is applying for a state investment tax credit
based on several factors, including the building's purchase and renovations, equipment costs, depreciable assets and job growth.
Employment is a regional issue, so even though the loss of the company is difficult for Fitchburg, it's good that the workers are able to keep their jobs, Wong said.
The Twin Cities regional unemployment rate is higher than other parts of the state, so Fitchburg and Leominster must work together to bring manufacturing to the area rather than looking at it parochially, she said.
Wong appears confident her city will be able to build its commercial base even with the latest setback.
"We look forward to attracting a new company to the site and to create even more jobs for our region," she said. "I am also excited that more jobs will be created."
At-large Councilor Stephan Hay said he is disappointed with the business's move to neighboring Leominster because it hurts the city's tax base.
He said he would not blame the company for doing what is best for its own profits.
"Hopefully, the mayor and her economic team can replace them," Hay said.
At-large Councilor Dean A. Tran said it is the mayor's responsibility to help local companies stay where they are and grow.
"When we lose a business to a neighboring city because of an incentive, we have essentially failed in our mission to help our local companies stay and grow in the city," Tran wrote in an email.
Follow Jack Minch on Facebook and Twitter @JackMinch.
Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/local/ci...
#2 Mar 15, 2013
This isn't the first company to move to other cities out of Fitchburg.
The tax rate is an issue along with the high utility rates and insurance rates.
Public safety successes always lower the cost of insurance for businesses in any city. Fitchburg is deemed a high risk for all insurances.
The city pays a lower elctricity rate to a company outside of Unitil. It all does matter.
The Mayor and the city council have to pay better attention to the city's business community.
It is time for all these city councilors to step up to the plate themselves! They stack all the boards as they have a lot of say on all matters.
The city council has been in "Washington mode". It is good that Marcus Dinatale is raising such issues. Hopefully he will run for Mayor but who knows.
We all need to hold the Mayor accountable. The city council is stuck on the fact that Mayor Wong saved 4 Million in the bank. Get over it and begin to do something for the city.
Wait till summer arrives, the smells will be noticable as Fitchburg will smell like Georgia. The rats, possums and skunks are setting up housing in all the mattreses and couches dumped in city lots. They go from the couches to the piles of raw trash built up in yards across the city.
The business community has been totally ignored in Fitchburg. The Mayor nor ANY city councilors ever walk down Main street. If you donot walk through the city then you are out of touch with its reality.
#3 Mar 15, 2013
As our city council here in Fitchburg sits on its hands and continues to rubber stamp every failed city contract, Leominsters' city council is pro-active!
"The Leominster City Council created an economic opportunity area and gave the company, which produces display racks for retailers, a tax-incentive financing package for making $250,000 in improvements to a 199,270-square-foot facility at 9 Mohawk Drive in the city and creating 100 new jobs."
The city council in Fitchburg has failed! They have done NOTHING to address Unitil rates but to buy electricity for a lower rate than citizens and businesses pay!
The city council in Fitchburg has done NOTHING to address the very high cost of water and sewer for businesses in Fitchburg.
Public safety meetings have not taken place concerning business concerns. Store are getting robbed and vandelized. Business insurance is very high, auto insurance is extremely high. These are operational costs that are dependent on public safety issues.
There is city property owned that could be sold to business interests such as the cable company. The Mayor has been bending over backwards for the University in reference to changing zoning laws making it tougher for businesses to open in the college area. She has championed off campus housing for big outside commercial interests.
Turning on the lights for FSU as the entire Fitchburg business community went without so the Mayor could make herself look good with 4 Million in the bank.
Businesses failed, the community got run down all for Mayor Wongs political gain as she exploits this 4 Million dollar savings while cutting every city service. All right ,you have your 4 Million banner that you can print on all your political adds now do something to make Fitchburg a better and safer place to live and to do business in!!!
#4 Mar 15, 2013
You know what would help keep business in the city? Advertise that we are evicting convicted felon ex cons.
#5 Mar 16, 2013
Let me tell you that you are discriminating! If you are who I am beginning to believe who you are then you may become an ex-con as you so elequently put it sooner than later.
Your harrassment has gone over the line to the point of criminality!
You are possessed! You use everyone around you! You are in your late 40s and are constantly loosing friends due to your behavior. There is a common denominator here and it is YOU!
Leave me alone psycho!
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