SELECTMEN RACE Q&A: Eaton & Fasulo Discuss Economic Development, Analog TIF & Detox Facility Proposal

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking Selectman candidates Rob Fasulo and Jonathan Eaton questions each week leading up to the April 28 Town Election.

This week’s questions focus on economic development and related topics.  Below are the candidates’ responses, in their own words:

Jonathan Eaton Board of Selectmen

Jonathan Eaton

Do you feel Wilmington is doing a good job attracting and maintaining businesses? What more would you propose be done? 

I believe that Wilmington does a good job in attracting and maintaining businesses, but there is room for improvement.  I believe that Wilmington should form an economic development committee for the purpose of developing and implementing a strategy for improving our business community.

Over the past year, we have seen residents mobilize over business proposals that run contrary to the desires of our neighborhoods.  An economic development committee’s objective is to identify and recruit the types of businesses that we want to have in our town.  We can stop playing defense, and start playing offense.  Let’s be proactive and find the types of businesses that we want in our town, and go out and get them into our underutilized and vacant commercial properties.

In the instance of Wilmington’s largest employer, Analog Devices, do you support the proposed TIF (tax increment financing) agreement between the town and the company?  

I do support the TIF agreement between the town and Analog Devices.  The Analog TIF agreement does not reduce their taxes on their existing properties and buildings, but rather provides a tax break on the increased value of their new improvements as they invest over $150 million into their campus.  The deal in principle not only keeps Wilmington’s largest employer in Wilmington, but will add 500 jobs to through relocations and new hires.

I did express reservations at some of the language in the draft agreement presented to the Finance Committee, but at that time, town counsel had not yet completed their review.  Assuming that the agreement in principle is reduced to writing, I believe that the Town Manager, Finance Committee member John Doherty, Selectmen Caira and McCoy, and several of the department heads deserve credit for responding to Analog’s aggressive initial offer with tact and an equally aggressive counter to reach a mutually-beneficial agreement.

On a semi-related note, one business trying to open in town is a detox facility at 362 Middlesex Avenue. Do you support that project at that location? Why/why not? 

No.  As a member of the Finance Committee, I spoke in favor of Article 2 in advance of Special Town Meeting, and seconded the motion to recommend approval of Article 2.  Backed right up to a densely populated residential neighborhood, 362 Middlesex Avenue is not the right location.

I am mindful of the impact that the addiction epidemic has had on too many families in our community, and do believe in providing accessible avenues of recovery.  All too frequently we are seeing people suffering to overcome their addictions, and I supported the town’s hiring of our substance abuse coordinator, Samantha Reif.  If you or someone that you care about could benefit from support services, please call Ms. Reif at 978 694-2064, or by email at sreif@wpd.org.

Rob Fasulo

Rob Fasulo

Do you feel Wilmington is doing a good job attracting and maintaining businesses? What more would you propose be done?

I do think the town does a fairly decent job at attracting businesses however there is always room for improvement. I think a panel of residents could be convened to see what type of retail establishments the town would support and offer a one or two year tax incentive to come to town, an alternative would be to waive permitting fees to show good faith to the business. The lost revenue would be minimal and it would go a long way for a business owner to take a risk on opening a new establishment in our town.

In the instance of Wilmington’s largest employer, Analog Devices, do you support the proposed TIF (tax increment financing) agreement between the town and the company?

I have not seen the nuts and bolts of the agreement so my answer is a general yes I support this measure. The town will have a substantial benefit from the added buildings once the terms that were agreed to are up. I would however like to see future agreements contain a clause stating that said company will fill a certain percentage of newly created positions with preference given to Wilmington residents.

On a semi-related note, one business trying to open in town is a detox facility at 362 Middlesex Avenue. Do you support that project at that location? Why/why not?

No, I do not support this facility opening at this location for a number of reasons. First and foremost, We have a number of locations in areas that do not back right up against an established neighborhood that this type of facility can be housed at without effecting residential neighborhoods. The residents in the Shady Lane neighborhood have spoken very loudly and I certainly heard them, its their lives that will be effected by this facility and they do not support it there. Second, I think it is foolish to support this proposal prior to having some type of history of or information on whom will be operating it. I am adding a link to the bottom of this answer to an advisory from the MA A.G’s. office warning about scams arising out of a number of detox centers in the south. Without an operator, how are we to be certain we are free and clear of one of these scams? Third, I’m very concerned with the crime that this facility has the potential to bring to that neighborhood. I have worked in law enforcement for years and have dealt with my fair share of addicts. They are generally not violent people but they do tend to commit larcenies when they find themselves in a pinch. Even one incident that occurs as a result of the placement of this facility is too much because it does not have to go there. Finally, I have a concern as to the use of Wilmington EMS services at this facility. I have not heard if they will have an ambulance crew on standby 24×7 or if they will count on Wilmington EMS to transport if the need arises. If there is nothing in place then what do we tell the resident that needs an ambulance for an emergency when the crew is transporting a patient from this facility? Is it OK to tell them they need to wait for Tewksbury to arrive?

I would gladly support a facility located in an approved zone run by an established non profit entity that can house both medical facilities and detox under one roof alleviating any extra services that they would need from the town.

See the advisory : http://www.mass.gov/ago/bureaus/hcfc/the-health-care-division/consumer-advisory-scams-addiction-treatment-.html

NOTE TO CANDIDATES & CAMPAIGNS: Got announcements, press releases, letters to the editor, etc.?  Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.

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