Economic Development is community development. The main objective of economic development for Southborough is to sustain and improve economic, social and environmental well-being through initiatives that promote job creation and retention, enhance and expand the tax base, and support the development of infrastructure and amenities that improve our core services and quality of life.
Southborough's Economic Development Committee's FAQs
Economic development aids in building and sustaining a healthy economy for sustainable community development, including the following benefits:
Increase Commercial Tax Base:
- Revenue provided by economic development initiatives to maintain a robust commercial tax base helps keep residential taxes low and provides support, maintenance and improvements for our roads, parks, libraries, and emergency services.
Job Creation & Retention:
- Economic development encourages competitive wages, improved benefits, and increased opportunities for advancement.
Business Retention & Expansion:
- Businesses are integral to Southborough’s prosperity and when they feel appreciated and valued by the community, the result is higher business retention, job growth and investments in our Town.
- Southborough’s diversified economic base with multiple business sectors helps expand our local economy, and reduces our vulnerability to a downturn in any particular business sector, which could help Southborough to weather an economic downturn.
Productive Use of Property:
- Property used for its “highest and best use” capitalizes on the premium value of that property and supports a vibrant community for residents and businesses.
Quality of Life:
- More local tax dollars and jobs raise the economic tide for the entire community, support core Town services, and enhance the overall standard of living of our residents and our residential property values.
- Encouraging residents, visitors and businesses to shop locally produced goods strengthens the health and sustainability of our local economy.
The Economic Development Committee (“EDC”) was established as a permanent standing committee by vote at Town Meeting on April 27, 2017. From 2013 to April 2017, the EDC had been established as an Ad Hoc Committee to the Board of Selectmen. The EDC is permanently established to expand and strengthen the local economy, promote job creation, and enhance the Town’s quality of life through prosperous, balanced, and sustainable economic development that retains the distinct character and charm of Southborough.
The EDC measures performance using recognized quantitative metrics, including: employment growth, increased assessed property values (commercial), vacancy rates, number of businesses/non-profits directly supported, number of business and projects for which EDC provided technical assistance, and value and square footage of projects for which EDC provided technical assistance. These are well-established metrics upon which economic development organizations (EDOs) measure performance. See link here for the EDO Metric Guidebook by the International Economic Development Council. A number of qualitative measures are also compiled, including: testimonials, adherence to the Economic Development Recommendations within the Town’s Master Plan, and improving organized efforts to promote local businesses.
The EDC assists the residential, non-profit, and business community by providing management, technical assistance, and other resources.
Some of our free services include:
- Site selection assistance
- Local permitting and technical assistance
- Local Licensing Assistance
- Local and regional market information
- Entrepreneur assistance
- Meetings with public officials and local stakeholders
- Municipal updates
- Marketing coordination
- Business to business opportunities
- Other key programs, events and materials have included; the Commercial Broker Breakfast Series, Boroughs+ Summit on Last Mile Connections, Shop SOBO, and Permitting Guide for Businesses, and the Southborough Business, Non-Profit & Community Guide.
With our town’s good fiscal discipline, the EDC’s mission is to help stabilize residential taxes through growth of the commercial tax base, while preserving the unique character and charm of Southborough. Assessed commercial values are up $300,000 from the last fiscal year – a direct offset to residential taxes. With over 100 new jobs created in 2016, funding the EDC pays for itself and preserves an approximate $6 million commercial and industrial tax base to the benefit of all residents. This represents approximately 15.5% of the Town’s total tax revenues. The EDC also supports historic preservation, open space, and other efforts that enhance the quality of life for our residents, businesses and their employees.
Yes. Many Town Boards and Committees have coordinators or paid employees, such as the Planning Department, Conservation Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), Board of Selectmen, and Town Clerk. In the modern economy, economic development has become a core government function, evidenced by the widespread establishment of economic development organizations at the local, state and national level. In Massachusetts, a high percent of municipalities have an economic development committee or organization in some form. The EDC needs a coordinator to provide consistency of effort on numerous EDC objectives and projects, and to coordinate the scheduling, outreach and support of the Committee to over 600 businesses and non-profits in Southborough.
The EDC is a volunteer Committee of Southborough residents with a diversity of backgrounds who want to assist the Town in maintaining and enhancing a prosperous and sustainable economy. The EDC consists of up to 9 members, appointed by the Board of Selectmen for staggered terms of 3 years. The EDC welcomes all residents who are interested in furthering the EDC mission to join us as a member or to attend our meetings and events.
To become a Committee volunteer, submit your interests and personal/professional background information on the Town’s volunteer information sheet, found here. You can also contact the EDC Coordinator, Pam DiGiovanni, by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, (508) 485-0710, ext. 3011. The EDC generally meets with interested volunteers, prior to recommendation for appointment by the Board of Selectmen.
We have one interest group only – THE RESIDENTS. We assist business and non-profits doing business in Southborough to the extent their activities benefit the residents. As one of several EDC initiatives, we assist brokers and companies looking to locate in Southborough because occupied buildings are worth more than vacant ones, and increased property values brings higher property taxes for the Town. That tax revenue helps fund core services for our residents including, schools, roads, library, emergency services and more.
The Committee supports efforts that enhance the quality of life for residents, businesses and their employees, and it recognizes the inherent value of open space preservation in our community. The EDC believes that business and open space preservation can coexist and reinforce one another. The preservation of open space enhances and supports a sustainable environment and our economy. At the same time, a thriving local economy helps generate the funding needed to support open space preservation.
Our Committee members have a broad spectrum of backgrounds and experience. We almost always operate by a broad consensus of our members, although, there is rarely a shortage of differing points of view. We welcome public attendance and participation in our meetings and events. We also talk to other residents, friends, contacts, Town officials, and other board and committee members and invite their feedback. We have an open door policy and welcome public input.
Southborough’s broadly diversified business base is comprised of 19 of the 20 recognized industry sectors. Our leading industry “Super Sectors” include: education and health, professional and business services, manufacturing and trade, and transportation and utility services. To learn more, click here.
Economic Development Metrics – How We Measure Our Success
Measuring the success of Economic Development policies, programs and activities is just important as implementing them. There are many recognized measures used and bench marked within the economic development industry, and in recent years, this process has become a marriage of an art and science. We strive for efficient work toward our stated goals, while recognizing that some measures of progress are not so easily captured, such as, encouraging vital connections between businesses and residents, or improving customer service for permitting at Town Hall.
Many recognized guiding principles in Economic Development have been corner-stoned by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). This Internationally recognized Council consisting of more than 5,000 members of Economic Development Professionals (learn more here), has made them the largest organization of its kind. The IEDC has created an Economic Development Reference Guide that can be utilized to assist with how communities create and develop an Economic Development program and policies.
Another great resource in assisting to develop how to measure the success of Economic Development in a community is from the Economic Development Research Partners program, of the IEDC, Metrics for High Performing EDOs. This dynamic Guidebook for Economic Development professionals provides a menu of metrics by which to measure economic development success in a community. Since no two communities are alike, this menu based Guidebook offers an insightful approach on devising a system to benchmark economic development success that plays to each communities uniqueness, and isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
Learn more here about the methodology behind this comprehensive Economic Development Guidebook for Metrics and how it was developed.