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Council 'unsure-ness' delays birth of boards

EDC, IDFA on hold pending clarification of state law

November 24, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — Confusion in the Town Council delayed the creation of a board that the town has actually had for decades.

The board in question is the Industrial Development Financing Authority (IDFA), which Economic Development Director Cassandra Acly said was officially created in 1976 by special legislation. But the town never formally adopted a bylaw indicating it exists, so she aimed to "tie up loose ends" by proposing one, alongside one to create the Economic Development Commission (which many people also thought existed, but apparently never did).

"There's a lot of unsure-ness up here," said Councilor Denise Clemence. "… I don't think we should forge forward on something" without clarification.

It was one of the rare times she agreed with Councilor Laurent "Butch" McDonald and resident John Pulawski, who pointed to the state law under which IDFAs operate as a cause for concern. The two men argued that their reading of the law would allow the new panel to "issue bonds" and otherwise secure funding for projects without Council approval, and were particularly worried about the specific references to "improve, maintain and repair industrial development pollution control and solid waste facilities."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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