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.