Worcester homeowners are getting a 9.6% tax increase

Mariano Column In Telegram Today

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Here is part


Madison Properties’ proposed developments were an integral part of the city’s proposal to build Polar Park.

The taxes it was to generate were to be used to pay for the construction of the ballpark. The developments included two residential buildings, a hotel, a life sciences building, and an office building.

On its way to constructing the first residential building, the developer seemed to ignore its agreement with the city in which it promised to make a good faith effort to reach certain hiring goals. Now to be fair, most developers who operate under these rules fail to meet their goals. But it appears that Madison Properties didn’t make much of an effort.

They were supposed to hire 50% of construction workers from Worcester. They acknowledge hiring only 10%. They were also way off on goals for hiring women and people of color.

So, the city administration, backed by the city council, sent them a warning letter which caused the developer to take a few basic steps which they should have taken before they even started.

So, we’re good, right?

Not so fast. The developer decided to flip the city “the bird” and refused to provide required payroll documentation, agreed to as part of the tax deal, so that the city can verify the percentages submitted by the developer. It’s not that we don’t trust them, but we sort of have an obligation to the taxpayers to make sure the names of those they say are employed are real.

No other developer has ever been so brazen. City Councilor Sean Rose called it “disheartening.”

And his committee passed a resolution to let the developer know that they expect them to follow the terms of the agreement.

Try and remember that the City Council often passes resolutions calling for world peace and “Taco Tuesdays.”

Warning letters, resolutions, baloney! It’s time the city yanked the deal until such time as the developer proves it is keeping up its end of the bargain. They made a promise to taxpayers.

Now keep that promise!




Comments

Anonymous said…
This is going to be a test of the capabilities of the City administration if they want to keep to the promise that the ballpark will not cost the taxpayers. If they pull the tax reduction on the FIRST building being constructed what are the chances that the developer rushes to build the rest of the buildings and if the developer does not build them we are picking up more of the costs of the payments on the loans. Not a good negotiating position for the City. The City is between a rock and a hard place.
Anonymous said…
Has the City ever held anyone to their end of a contract? UNUM? The City will do what the City always does, roll over and play dead. We will do what we always do, complain when we get our tax bill then pay it.
Anonymous said…
The City's population has grown 14% from the 2010 to the 2020 census and I assume the number of houses and/or rental units increased as well. I constantly have red or read articles of apartments being built or old commercial properties being converted to residential units. This says to me that there has been or is a strong housing market in the City. One of the main reason is because Boston has become so expensive and people are expanding westward. That being said, there has been and continues to be a strong housing market, some asking for tax reductions, some not. A question, if there is a strong housing market why are we giving tax reductions in the first place. A follow up question, if some housing developments are constructed without a tax reduction agreement and some are, how does the City decide who gets one and how much of a reduction is needed?
A comment to the talking heads that give credit to the City's increased housing market to the arrival of the WooSox I say to you this started years before the ball park was even a thought in Augustus' little mind.
Anonymous said…
Did the City include the same provisions in the lease with the WooSox?
Anonymous said…
Besides being behind schedule with the original construction schedule, flipping the bird to the City on the tax deal I was told Madison did not pay contractors and is being sued. Augustus builds a $175 million ballpark and relied on this developer for the extra taxes to pay for the ball park. Seems like he got off the bus before the wheels fell off it.
Anonymous said…
Worcester Business Journal has an article on the tax reductions not being compliant. They specifically mention the UNUM building not meeting their hiring goals. If you look up the UNUM building on the City's property records they only paid $58,000. They only value the new building at $1.7 million. Something is seriously wrong when I am paying about 1/10th the taxes on my house.
Anonymous said…
If nothing else the ballpark project shined a spotlight on the City's giveaways.