BOSTON – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a home-rule petition for the City of Framingham that establishes an Economic Development Corporation.
Spearheaded by the City Council Economic Development Subcommittee Chair Michael Cannon, the 11-member City Council voted 10-0-1 to submit the home rule petition in December 2021.
Submitted earlier this year to the legislature by former State Rep. Maria Robinson & Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, the “Corporation shall promote the economic revitalization of the City.”
Before the Governor saw the home rule petition to sign, Senate President Karen Spilka made changes to the legislation.
The new Economic Development Corporation would eliminate the Framingham Economic Development & Industrial Corporation, which last met in June 2022, and has not filed minutes since March 2022.
The new EDC will be a Commonwealth-chartered economic development arm of the City of Framingham. It represents a public-private partnership for planning.The goals are raise funding through private investors to foster economic development, job growth and community revitalization in the City.
Per the legislation, the purposes of the Corporation shall be to: “(i) promote the objectives of section 2 and promote the common good and general welfare of the city; (ii) improve the living standards of the residents of the city by facilitating employment opportunities; (iii) support existing businesses and institutions located in the city by developing or facilitating the creation of infrastructure to benefit the circulation of employees, visitors and goods; and (iv) solicit, encourage and induce business and non-profit organizations and educational institutions to locate their organization in the city with an emphasis on securing and expanding the tax base or employment base of the city.”
The Corporation will be 7 members, appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City’s legislative branch of government, the 11-member City Council.
Of the 7 members “at least 1 of whom shall be experienced in financial matters, 1 of whom shall be experienced in real estate, 1 of whom shall be experienced in municipal government, 2 of whom shall be experienced in industrial development and 2 of whom shall be appointed from the community at large. Unless otherwise appointed by the mMayor and approved by the City Council, all members of the corporation shall reside or be employed in the city.”
Two of the members will start with 1-year term, 2 for a 2-year term, and 3 for a 3-year term, per the legislation.
The Corporation shall have the power to “determine what areas within its jurisdiction constitute underutilized, underperforming, substandard or open blighted areas.”
The Corporation can “prepare and execute plans for the clearance, conservation and rehabilitation of congested, substandard or blighted open areas, including plans for carrying out voluntary repair and rehabilitation of buildings and improvements, plans for the enforcement of law, codes and regulations relating to the use of land and the use occupancy of buildings and improvements and plans for the demolition and removal of buildings.”
The Corporation can “clear and improve property acquired by it or the city.”
The Corporation can “prepare or cause to be prepared urban renewal plans, master or general plans, workable programs for development of the community, general neighborhood renewal plans, community renewal programs and any plans or studies required or assisted under state or federal law.”
The Corporation can “engage in urban renewal or community development projects and enforce restrictions and controls contained in any approved urban renewal or community economic development plan or any covenant or agreement contained in any contract, deed or lease by the corporation; provided, however, that the Corporation shall not have title to or interest in the property to which such restrictions and controls may apply or to any neighboring property.”
The Corporation can act an an “agent of the city or cooperate under the authority and direction of the city with the federal government in any clearance, industrial, relocation, urban renewal, rehabilitation, community development or other project that it is authorized to undertake by and within the city.”
The Corporation can “recommend to the city the acquiring of land through eminent domain” but subject to the approval of the Mayor and the City Council.
The Corporation can “undertake and provide relocation projects ,” and it can “conduct investigations and disseminate information relative to housing and living conditions and other material issues deemed appropriate in connection with redevelopment activities.”
The Corporation can “provide, by resolution, for the issuance of revenue bonds of the corporation for the purposes of paying all or any part of the cost of a development projector projects; provided, however, that the principal and interest on the bonds shall be payable solely from the funds herein provided for the payment; provided further, that the bonds of each issue shall be dated, bear interest at the rates and mature at a time not exceeding 20 years from their date.”
Per the legislation, “revenue and revenue refunding bonds issued under this act, unless otherwise authorized by law, shall not constitute a debt of the Commonwealth or the City or a pledge of the full faith and credit of the Commonwealth or the City, but the bonds shall be payable solely from the funds herein provided from revenues generated by the corporation.”
Real estate owned by the corporation shall not be subject to liens.
For the purposes of any contract to sell, lease or acquire real property, the corporation shall be a public or quasi-public economic development agency and such real property transactions shall not be subject to section 16 of chapter 30B of the General Laws, noted the legislation.
The Corporation shall file annual reports with the state secretary and the city council. These annual reports shall also be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the city within 60 days after the close of the corporation’s fiscal year. The state secretary shall make copies of such reports available to the commissioner of insurance and the commissioner of banks and the corporation shall also furnish such other information as may, from time to time, be required by the state secretary.
The Corporation shall not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office or publish or distribute any statements with respect thereto.
The Corporation is hereby designated as a community-based development organization for the purposes of carrying out community or economic development projects with federal financial assistance.