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Paicos: Regional Sewer District Could Effectively End Water & Sewer Dispute with Kraft Group

Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos says approval of the proposed regional sewer district involving Foxborough, Mansfield and Norton would effectively end an ongoing dispute with the Kraft Group over funds for a sewer treatment plant never built.

As selectmen prepared to hear the finance plan for the proposed regional sewer agreement with Mansfield and Norton Tuesday, Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos shared some “happy” news with the board.

“There’s a very happy circumstance [that would result from Foxborough voters authorizing the intermunicipal agreement (IMA) to form a regional sewer district with Norton and Mansfield],” Paicos said.

That “happy circumstance,” according to Paicos, is the regional sewer district, which would likely allow Foxborough to finally move on from an ongoing dispute with the Kraft Group involving money believed to be owed for a wastewater treatment plant never built.

“This [IMA] removes an obstacle that has created great tension between us and let’s us put our business dealings with our largest business partner in a whole different footing that is much more favorable for everyone and that is a great development,” Paicos said.

According to Paicos, the town and Kraft Group have been debating for years whether or not the town would receive roughly $7.5 million in lieu of a wastewater treatment plant constructed at Gillette Stadium.

“That argument unfortunately has created some tension and stress [between the town and the Kraft Group],” Paicos said. “It has prevented us from being able to move forward definitively with a plan to join our partners in regional sewer.”

While town documents show the Kraft Group does not legally owe the town any funds for a proposed wastewater treatment facility that was never built; some officials have remained adamant that a “social contract” was reached – and broken – by the Kraft Group. This interpretation of the Patriot Place agreement between the town and the Kraft Group has caused little to no progress on many other projects, including the town’s pursuit of regional sewer with Mansfield and Norton, according to Paicos.

“For some three or four years now, we have not been able to develop this [regional sewer] plan because there has been an ongoing dispute between the town and our biggest business partner,” Paicos said.

This would no longer be the case if voters approve the proposed IMA for regional sewer at May’s Annual Town Meeting, according to Paicos, who underlined the benefit of this plan beyond the addition of sewer capacity in town for growth and development.

“We can move forward,” Paicos said. “We have this funded and we do not require any of that [disputed] money to be paid to the town, which allows us to engage in an entirely different discussion with our business partner along Route 1 in a much more non-adversarial way. That’s great news.”

A copy of the regional sewer district’s finance plan, which Paicos described as “conservative” with room to grow, can be picked up at Foxborough Town Hall.

Progress Made in Billboard Dispute

Paicos wasn’t the only one to deliver some good news Tuesday as Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis shared several highlights from a recent meeting with members of the Kraft Group.

“I am pleased to tell you that the recent anxiety over the billboards have eased and we are back on track as before thanks to the Water & Sewer Board working with the Kraft organization directly,” DeVellis told selectmen in a prepared statement. “The checks have been deposited and can both sides can do a better job over the long-term agreement rather than the month-to-month. Right now it is a 50-50 share on a month-to-month basis.”

To read more on DeVellis' meeting with the Kraft Group, click here.

Steve January 18, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Jeremy, could you please delve a little deeper into the Billboard deal that the Water & Sewer Board has worked out with the KO?? More specifically how it differs from the original deal that previous town counsel deemed “illegal”. Thank you
Steve January 18, 2013 at 01:41 PM
This Regional Sewer District has absolutely NOTHING to do with the disputed monies some claim the KO “owe” the town, except that these monies, if paid, would have been earmarked to fund the RSD. Whether or not the KO owes the town would still be unanswered. And just because “they” are switching there funding tactic from the KO to the taxpayers does not change this at all. The headline or rather Mr. Paicos’ claim is very misleading. Does he really think the public is that stupid!!!
Bob O'Rourke January 18, 2013 at 02:19 PM
The town needs to get over the fact that they have a social contract with the Kraft Group for a sewer system. If it is not in writing it does not exist, the Kraft Group is not a business partner with us they are a business in town that negotiated a better deal for themselves than the town did plain and simple. Shame on the town for not crossing their "T's" and dotting their "I's" during the negotiation, hopefully the next negotiation will be done in writing instead of a social contract.
Jeremie Smith (Editor) January 18, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Steve, Thanks for the comment. Yes, I plan to get much more information on this issue with the billboards and have already started working on it. I was just reporting on what was discussed at Tuesday's BOS meeting with full intent to follow up on this. Thank you, Jeremie
Jeremie Smith (Editor) January 18, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Steve, Thank you again for the comment here. The intent of this article was to report what Mr. Paicos told the selectmen at Tuesday's meeting about this issue. I tried to make it clear that Paicos this is Paicos opinion in the headline to avoid "misleading" anyone. To be clear, I'm not reporting that this will happen but rather that Paicos is saying he believes it will. I understand the skepticism of Paicos' comments and will follow this story for more information. Thank you, Jeremie
Steve January 18, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Robert agreed. The sad part is the reportedly there was a deal almost done until certain eager beaver selectpersons and an overly aggressive town manager screwed up the whole deal and now the town gets nothing. If only the public paid attention and realized what is happening “behind the scenes”. The Foxboro Reporter is awful in this respect, thank God the Patch is stepping up a little better!! These are multimillion dollar deals that are being blown up because of personal vendettas and agendas….and then they come to the public to raise taxes to cover their butts!!
Steve January 18, 2013 at 04:09 PM
This is where I have a problem. If there is in fact "a dispute" between the W&S board and the KO how is having the public pay for the RSD changing anything? Or is Mr. Paicos waiving the white flag and finally admitting that the town was 100% wrong in our assertion that the KO "owed" us these monies?? If Mr. Paicos is not admitting the town was in error in demanding compensation how does anything change with regard to certain people asserting that the KO does in fact owe us compensation? The way I see it is the only thing that changes is the burden of paying for the RSD gets shifted to the Joe Public instead of trying to work out some sort of reasonable compensation from the KO. That would take a major mea culpa from certain town officials and I don’t see that happening.
Brian January 18, 2013 at 05:08 PM
@steve.. Trying to follow this a bit closer . Are you referring the the past selectmen or the current selectmen that are on the board and have personal agendas on the sewer. I know this issue has been going on for a very long time. How is the selectmen involved if this is a sewer issue and we have an elected sewer board ?
Steve January 18, 2013 at 07:12 PM
good question Brian, that was also asked by many, but as we have seen over the years, sometimes the BOS feel that everything is under their discretion!! Or as a onetime selectman, Mr. Feeney would say….”we need one accountable board”!!! But to answer your question, I would point out one newly re-elected BOS member as the most egregious when it comes to usurping the W&S Boards authority and trying to extort the KO in these Billboard dealings and instead screwing up everything for everyone, especially the tax payers of Foxboro.
Steve February 14, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Jeremie, have you been able to delve into this "new" billboard deal and find out how it differs from the original deal that was deemed illegal by previous town counsel?

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