There are 2 development agreements that have been negotiated with the town.  The first from Merrimack and the second from Trinity Financial (one of the developers).
  • The Merrimack agreement would provide for a 1-time payment to the town of $1,650,000 to be drawn on by the town over 10 years.  The college would also require a yearly written report from the town on what we’ve spent the money on.
  • $650,000 is meant to offset approximately 8 years of property tax revenue to the town resulting from the loss of tax revenue from Merrimack’s recent purchase of 510-530 Turnpike Street which they failed to mention during the planning process. 
  • After this, we get NOTHING, no property tax revenue from the college, no PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes), NOTHING.  This loss of tax revenue will then be passed on to town residents to make up the difference.  This is not the windfall it’s being touted as!
  • Merrimack has also offered to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NAPD.  This is something they should already be doing but have refused to do up to this point.  Public safety should not be a bargaining chip used to get this project approved. 
  • The Trinity Financial agreement is also not the windfall it’s being passed off as.  Trinity has pledged only $1,000,000 each to a “Traffic Monitoring Mitigation Fund” & a “Pedestrian Safety Fund” to offset the unknown traffic and safety implications to the town.  $2,000,000 total is a ridiculously small amount, especially if traffic improvements are needed AFTER THE FACT. The town will be completely on the hook in that case.  This token sum of money will likely only be enough to cover studies and design per the Town Manager.  A pedestrian bridge and traffic mitigation could cost well over this 10 Million dollars. 
  • All other funding offered to the town are one-time payments only.  The improvements in the Facilities Master Plan II to the Franklin School ARE NOT CONTINGENT ON MONEY FROM THIS AGREEMENT. 
As stated earlier, if Town Meeting approves the Facility Master Plan being proposed tonight, the schools will get the money they need for any existing projects.  If town officials feel there is a need to accelerate these plans, surely the new revenues from Amazon, Princeton Properties development and the under-construction projects at Avalon Phase 1, Avalon Phase 2, and Sutton Street (KofC) CAN AND SHOULD BE USED.