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LIVE BLOG: Special Town Meeting Approves TJX Tax Incentive Plan

Framingham Patch will be live blogging at tonight's Special Town Meeting.

Framingham Town Meeting is scheduled to start at 7:30, or when a quorum is reached.

will be live blogging, using our Cover it Live platform. Feel free to interact with us.

To see the live blog, please click on the arrow in the grey box.

NOTE: If you are using the mobile version, you must go and click on desktop version to see the grey box.

You can comment while we are live blogging. You may also ask questions, but keep in mind I may not be able to answer right away as I am listening and typing.

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Below is a transcript of our live blog from the cover it live platform

Framingham Patch: Town Meeting should begin when there is a quorum ...

Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:29 Framingham Patch

7:33 Framingham Patch: There is a quorum present Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:33 Framingham Patch 7:33 Framingham Patch: Moderator is asking Town Meeting members to take their seats Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:33 Framingham Patch 7:34 Framingham Patch: Moderator is making announcements Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:34 Framingham Patch 7:34 Framingham Patch: Tonight will start with the Special Town Meeting warrant first and then if time move into night 13 of the annual Town Meeting. Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:34 Framingham Patch 7:35 Framingham Patch: Moderator is asking for quiet "No reason to have conversations,while I am speaking." Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:35 Framingham Patch 7:36 Framingham Patch: Moderator reminding people to use only their own electronic voting device.
If someone is using multiple devices, that individual will be asked to leave Town Meeting - Moderator. Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:36 Framingham Patch 7:37 Framingham Patch: TEST question -- Will the Boston Celtics win the NBA champiosnhip? Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:37 Framingham Patch 7:39 Framingham Patch: yes - 49
no - 26
abstain - 27
Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:39 Framingham Patch 7:39 Framingham Patch: Moderator has called the special town meeting to order Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:39 Framingham Patch 7:39 Framingham Patch: Town Meeting member Kevin Crotty speaking Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:39 Framingham Patch 7:40 Framingham Patch: Crotty making motion on TJX TIF agreement and TIF zone Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:40 Framingham Patch 7:41 Framingham Patch: create an economic opportunity area - about 21 acres off cochituate road/156 Speen St. Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:41 Framingham Patch 7:43 Framingham Patch: Town Counsel Chris Petrini speaking
Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:43 Framingham Patch 7:44 Framingham Patch: TJX representatives being introduced Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:44 Framingham Patch 7:45 Framingham Patch: Petrini - legal overview
TIF - tax increment financing
objective of a TIF agreement is to generate jobs and promote economic activity in the community Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:45 Framingham Patch 7:45 Framingham Patch: the exemption does not apply to property value in existence prior to the TIF Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:45 Framingham Patch 7:47 Framingham Patch: key provisions:
make an initial capital investment of $143 million
retain 1600 permanent full time jobs
within 5 years increase employees by 225 employees
acquire necessary property rights in all the underlying parcels Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:47 Framingham Patch 7:48 Framingham Patch: Excemption percentages:
gradually increase through the first 5 years of the agreement before declining in subsequent years
TIF agreement is for 20 years Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:48 Framingham Patch 7:50 Framingham Patch: TJX will use commercially reasonable efforts to open these jobs to the residents of the town and the economic target area
TJX prepare annual and semi-annual written reports on employments

Clawbacks
If they don't grow then the tax percentage is reduced
if TJX doesn't keep 1825 employees they must reimburse the Town for the entire tax exemption that it received for a 2 year period.

First 5 years a very strong penalty Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:50 Framingham Patch 7:51 Framingham Patch: If TJX abandons the facility within the first 10 years, the TJX must pay back 100% of the tax exemption that it received throughout the immediate preceding 5-year period Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:51 Framingham Patch 7:53 Framingham Patch: CFO speaking - financial fous of TIF
discount applies to property values and not the tax bill
does not shift any of the taxes to residential or other commercial taxpayers
does not shift property values from commercial to residential or within the commercial sector
all current taxes are required to be paid in full
FY12 taxes were $1.83 million Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:53 Framingham Patch 7:53 Framingham Patch: TJX generates $25 million in local business revenue in Framingham Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:53 Framingham Patch 7:54 Framingham Patch: TJX supports 162 local jobs in surrounding businesses
Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:54 Framingham Patch 7:54 Framingham Patch: Financial focus is to encourage commercial economic evelopment and retain and increase jobs - CFO Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:54 Framingham Patch 7:56 Framingham Patch: Framingham receives $64.8 million in base taxes on the existing property over the 20 year period, with no construction Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:56 Framingham Patch 7:57 Framingham Patch: with the incentive we would get $7.2 million to $9.2 million more in taxes due to construction and renovation

It is a gain for Framingham and a gain for TJX - CFO Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:57 Framingham Patch 7:58 Framingham Patch: In Scenario 1 -- almost a 50-50 split. We gain and TJX gains - CFO Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:58 Framingham Patch 7:59 Framingham Patch: Equal gain in scenario 2 -- increase in tax revenue $9 million and estimated tax incentive is $9.4 million to TJX Tuesday May 22, 2012 7:59 Framingham Patch 8:00 Framingham Patch: In scenario 1 - Framingham increase in $7.385 million in taxes and TJX gets a $7.64 estimated tax incentive.

give message to business community - Framingham welcomes those commercial entities that choose to invest in new jobs and new value in our Town. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:00 Framingham Patch 8:00 Framingham Patch: additional room and meals tax revenue due the ancillary business increase from the additional jobs and business capacity at TJX Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:00 Framingham Patch 8:01 Framingham Patch: Selectman Dennis Giombetti speaking -
First meeting with Ernie Hermann, Jason Smith Dennis Giombetti and MW Chamber of Commerce CEO Bonnie Biocchi. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:01 Framingham Patch 8:01 Framingham Patch: first meeting set the foundation ... Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:01 Framingham Patch 8:03 Framingham Patch: Town working group met often and set the goals:
Reach favorable long-term agreement with TJX
Keep jobs and create new jobs
Keep TJX corporate HQ in Framingham for the long term
Foster and encourage growth and investment in Framingham
Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:03 Framingham Patch 8:04 Framingham Patch: held several meetings with TJX as it is working on its decision
TJX wanted to make a decision by April 1
TJX could have moved its entire operations to Marlborough Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:04 Framingham Patch 8:04 Framingham Patch: With this TIF agreement the town achieved its goals
1,600 jobs maintained and 225 new jobs created
significant clawback language over the entire 20 years Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:04 Framingham Patch 8:05 Framingham Patch: a known company to us that is corporately responsible Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:05 Framingham Patch 8:05 Framingham Patch: given the alternatives selectmen believe the working group did an outstanding job - Giombetti Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:05 Framingham Patch 8:06 Framingham Patch: both parties are pleased with the agreement
neither party got everything they wanted Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:06 Framingham Patch 8:07 Framingham Patch: Vice president Tom Flanagan (is a Framingham resident) is speaking

Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:07 Framingham Patch 8:07 Framingham Patch: Moderator suggesting he come forward and use the front microphone Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:07 Framingham Patch 8:08 Framingham Patch: TJX VP Tom Flanagan speaking Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:08 Framingham Patch 8:10 Framingham Patch: Committee reports Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:10 Framingham Patch 8:10 Framingham Patch: Betty Funk - chair of the finance committee Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:10 Framingham Patch 8:10 Framingham Patch: May 14 - fincom and ways & means met and heard a presentation Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:10 Framingham Patch 8:11 Framingham Patch: after considerable discussion voted 8-0-0 favorable Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:11 Framingham Patch 8:11 Framingham Patch: like the Framingham Heart study, TJX is a signature entity in our marketplace Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:11 Framingham Patch 8:11 Framingham Patch: Framingham's ability to negotiate a mutual agreement - strength of our Town Meeting and strength in the marketplace Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:11 Framingham Patch 8:12 Framingham Patch: if Framingham Town Meeting votes the TIF, it must be accepted and agreed by state Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:12 Framingham Patch 8:12 Framingham Patch: TIF is front loaded in the first 6 years ... Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:12 Framingham Patch 8:13 Framingham Patch: there after growth is projected at 1% Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:13 Framingham Patch 8:13 Framingham Patch: $79 to $89 million growth over 20 years Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:13 Framingham Patch 8:13 Framingham Patch: incredible complicated agreement Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:13 Framingham Patch 8:13 Framingham Patch: there can be no simple piece of paper that factors all the answers into a major project like this .. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:13 Framingham Patch 8:14 Framingham Patch: Lastly, the finance committee lends its strong support to this aggreessive and thoughtful leadership to this agreement tonight Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:14 Framingham Patch 8:15 Framingham Patch: Audrey Hall - Ways & means chair - precinct 3 speaking Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:15 Framingham Patch 8:15 Framingham Patch: each of you can probably remember the reaction you had when we learned that TJX buys the Marlborough parcel. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:15 Framingham Patch 8:17 Framingham Patch: TJX leases were up in two years and they were looking for a way to expand...
at the May 14 meeting -- we learned about the TIF agreement and TJX plans
We learned that TJX leases all of its space in Framingham and does not own the land
TJX will own all the building after this agreement - will renovate where they are and likely build on a vacant lot. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:17 Framingham Patch 8:17 Framingham Patch: make sense to give the TIF to TJX for retention
Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:17 Framingham Patch 8:17 Framingham Patch: current tax revenue stream will not be discounted Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:17 Framingham Patch 8:18 Framingham Patch: earns us the honor of keeping a very respected citizen in our town - a major employer.
we looked for the downsides and we were unable to find them. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:18 Framingham Patch 8:19 Framingham Patch: standing committee voted 12-0-0 in favor of this Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:19 Framingham Patch 8:19 Framingham Patch: Town Meeting members can speak now Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:19 Framingham Patch 8:20 Framingham Patch: Bill Osborn - precinct 6 - enthusiastically agree Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:20 Framingham Patch 8:20 Framingham Patch: Osborn asks to move the question Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:20 Framingham Patch 8:20 Framingham Patch: Moderator will not accept that motion Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:20 Framingham Patch 8:20 Framingham Patch: Moderator says too many hands raised Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:20 Framingham Patch 8:21 Framingham Patch: Adam sistisky - precinct 7 - question for town counsel --
rise in strong support of this article Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:21 Framingham Patch 8:21 Framingham Patch: Sisitsky -- dispute resolution issues in the agreement?
Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:21 Framingham Patch 8:23 Framingham Patch: Yaakov Z. Cohn - TMM5 - speaking Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:23 Framingham Patch 8:25 Framingham Patch: Ed Kross - TMM12 - thanks for all the people involved pulling it together - this makes framingham looks good.
question for town counsel -- state level approval needed --
question? can they approve all or do they strike parts?
Would this have to come back to Town Meeting Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:25 Framingham Patch 8:26 Framingham Patch: Petrini speaking -- agreement states condition upon approval of state, Town Meeting and board of selectmen. Don't believe the state can cherry pick what it wishes to support. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:26 Framingham Patch 8:27 Framingham Patch: Kevin Crotty - TMM7 speaking - my estimation TJX has been a wonderful corporate neighbor - hope they get a unanimous vote -- to show Framingham is condusive to business Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:27 Framingham Patch 8:29 Framingham Patch: Richard Baritz - TMM17 -- question on clawback for town counsel
If TJX leaves Framingham at end of 10 years -- only have to repay the 5 years previous - years 6-10, which means the main tax breaks given in years 1-5 - which are significant - not given back -- seems a little weak in the agreement. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:29 Framingham Patch 8:30 Framingham Patch: Years 6-10 are some of the highest exceptions - Petrini Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:30 Framingham Patch 8:30 Framingham Patch: TJX -- reimburse within 30 days or 18% interest Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:30 Framingham Patch 8:32 Framingham Patch: Harold Geller - TMM2 -- like to thank town, working group and tJX for coming up with this win-win situations

questions -- amount of investment - $143 million - a fair amount of that has to do with ownership/transfer of property

how much of the $143 million -- is capital improvements?
on Page 3 of agreement - it lists assessed value of 3 properties
but does not list 770 Cochituate Rd

verification of the metrics in the agreement - current number of employees - amount of local employees -- independent verification of that? Ernest & Young?
Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:32 Framingham Patch 8:34 Framingham Patch: CFO -- 770 cochituate rd is a business address
it does refer to the corporate address - three main buildings
There is no parcel known as 770 cochituate Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:34 Framingham Patch 8:34 Framingham Patch: Petrini speaking -- portion will be property acquistion Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:34 Framingham Patch 8:34 Framingham Patch: presently in negotiations at the moment - TJX is Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:34 Framingham Patch 8:35 Framingham Patch: reporting question -- robust details in the agreement
Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:35 Framingham Patch 8:36 Framingham Patch: town could hire its own auditor -- but not recommend E&Y as they are TJX's auditor Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:36 Framingham Patch 8:37 Framingham Patch: Mr. Blumer - 7 Ledgewood Road resident speaking -- last time I spoke was in 1968
urge to support the creation and funding of K in Framingham. Town Meeting did the right thing and I'm back this is another important vote. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:37 Framingham Patch 8:38 Framingham Patch: rare unique moments where there are no losers and there are only winners
What does TJX get out of this - tax predictability
we all know they could have gotten this deal in another town
they wanted stay in town as they are a good neighbor
Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:38 Framingham Patch 8:40 Framingham Patch: second benefit the town gets - maintains the presence of a highly philathropic company
we will be saving publicly that we are a town that is friendly to business
we will work cooperative to get business to this town
I don't see any downsides. I only see upsides Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:40 Framingham Patch 8:41 Framingham Patch: Robert Bolles - TMM6 -- this sounds real, real good. Little lesson in economics here.
question -- selectmen - do we know how many companies will be knocking on the door for TIFs?
Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:41 Framingham Patch 8:42 Framingham Patch: Giombetti -- came to the conclusion -- any company wants to guarantee 1600+ jobs and invest $143 million, agre to clawbacks we will listen to them.
good deal for an existing company or a company that wants to move into town Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:42 Framingham Patch 8:43 Framingham Patch: Lloyd Kaye - TMM10 -- I'm in complete support of this article Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:43 Framingham Patch 8:44 Framingham Patch: This is an opportunity to restructure our entire economic development plan
I would not underestimate this working team at all Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:44 Framingham Patch 8:44 Framingham Patch: I'm incredibly impressed by the results by this arrangement Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:44 Framingham Patch 8:45 Framingham Patch: This company was ready to leave ... they were thinking about it for months and years before .. they were ready to leave this town completely Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:45 Framingham Patch 8:45 Framingham Patch: this will define this town ...opportunity to remodel everything ...
business negotiations from beginning to end Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:45 Framingham Patch 8:45 Framingham Patch: About 18-20 hands of Town meeting members raises still wishing to speak Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:45 Framingham Patch 8:46 Framingham Patch: Missed the speakers name -- as there was screaming out in the hallway Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:46 Framingham Patch 8:46 Framingham Patch: is chair of an economic development group Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:46 Framingham Patch 8:47 Framingham Patch: rightly or wrongly for a number of reasons Framingham is known as being unfriendly to businesses
this agreement tells them the belief is wrong or is in the process of changing
attract new businesses or keep existing businesses Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:47 Framingham Patch 8:48 Framingham Patch: Janet Leombruno -- move the question
There were half dozen people still wishing to speak Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:48 Framingham Patch 8:48 Framingham Patch: Question moved Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:48 Framingham Patch 8:48 Framingham Patch: Electronic voting
majority vote needed Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:48 Framingham Patch 8:49 JR: The moderator should have asked is there anyone against this, he didn't. Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:49 JR 8:50 Framingham Patch: 139-1-2
PASSED
Town Meeting clapping Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:50 Framingham Patch 8:51 Framingham Patch: Crotty move that the special town meeting warrant be disolved
majority vote needed
passed Tuesday May 22, 2012 8:51 Framingham Patch 8:51 Framingham Patch: Moderator calling for a 10 minute break
Joe Rizoli May 23, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Why was Joe Rizoli the ONLY one to vote against this? Principle. Right from the start the TJX officials had their officials sitting at spots reserved for Town Meeting members or OFFICIALS. When Eastliegh Farms had its member sitting in that spot some time back he was asked to leave because he wasn't supposed to be sitting there. Seeing this right off the bat told me the town is run by big money. The town really didn't have to negotiate anything here. The plot of land where TJX is a PRIME space worth millions. We really didn't have to do anything here. That is my opinion. I really think we could have done much better. Joe Rizoli
Tom Lupien May 23, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Joe i can honestly say i don't agree with many of your positions or views. That being said. I think you are right here. Deals like these look bad. From someone outside the loop when i see a vote that lopsided it makes me wonder what is going on behind the scenes. I'm glad TJX is in Framingham. But I'm also glad we have Robinson's hardware and other small businesses too. What are we doing to help and keep them going. Making an investment in the town is good. But there shouldn't be deals going on with folks to keep them in a prime location. And could someone explain how this deal doesn't end up being put on residential tax payers. Where is the money going to come from? That is a genuine question. Not being sarcastic here.

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