Westborough – Voters will be asked at the May 14 Annual Town Meeting to approve a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Agreement between the town and eClinicalWorks, a Westborough-based business that develops software for the medical industry. The first step, unanimous approval by the Board of Selectmen, was made at the board's March 1 meeting.
The company, which was formerly located at 112 Turnpike Road, is renovating a building at 2 Technology Drive as part of their expansion efforts in Westborough. Under the TIF agreement, the company will receive a tax TIF exemption on the incremental increase in the assessed value of real property over a period of five years. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, it would be a 50 percent exemption; FY 2013, 40 percent; FY 2014, 30 percent; FY 2015, 20 percent; and FY 2016, 10 percent. eClinicalWorks will receive an exemption on the incremental increase in assessed value of personal property as well. That scale is 25 percent in FY 2012; 20 percent in FY 2013; 15 percent in FY 2014; 10 percent in FY 2015; and 5 percent in FY 2016.
In return, the company will agree to retain the 400 jobs that are currently there as well as create approximately 100 new ones in 2011. eClinicalWorks also agreed that it “shall make best efforts to employ qualified residents of the Westborough Target Area, with a preference to hiring qualified Westborough residents…” .
“The company has to file a report with the state every year of the TIF and the town gets a copy,” Westborough's Town Manager Jim Malloy, explained. “Generally, the company will let us know [the overall job status] as part of that report.”
The town's Economic Development Committee has been instrumental in establishing Westborough as an Economic Target Area (ETA), which allows the town to then provide TIFs to assist companies in job expansion efforts. A community must first be approved by the state's Economic Assistance Coordinating Council before earning an ETA designation.
Establishing criteria includes income, unemployment and other pertinent economic factors. By state law, a limited number of communities can be named an ETA at a time. This designation also allows towns to provide other tax incentives for projects such as redevelopment of Brownfields and abandoned buildings.
According to Malloy, Westborough became an ETA in March 2010. Town officials have spoken with other companies regarding TIFs, he said, but eClinicalWorks is the only one to progress this far.