Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes 2008
October 18, 2008
Special Session 3:15 pm
Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo
Ms. Burns urged everyone to attend the special town meeting at the high school on October 27. She noted that with only one item on the agenda it might be difficult to get a quorum.
Mr. Riley joined the meeting.
Ms. Burns recapped the twenty-nine year history of the Lincoln School Apartments. She said that based upon the books Corcoran gave the Town the building has been operating in the black since the beginning. She also noted that Corcoran has done a marvelous job of managing the complex but that they are a for-profit company and would have less incentive, and possibly ability, to maintain the building as fully-affordable if some of the current subsidies were to be discontinued. Ms. Burns also pointed out that any real estate transaction has some degree of risk but she said that in this case the risk is extremely small. Based upon conversations with Congressman Delahunt’s office it is quite unlikely that there would be a change to the federal program under which the Lincoln School Apartments are operating. That being the case, it is quite probable that the apartments would continue to operate in the black through the term of the borrowing and beyond. It was noted that once the note had been paid off the Town would have an asset that could be mortgaged or sold for future needs.
Ms. Buckley, a current Weymouth and potential Lincoln School resident, said that her experience has been that when a town owns the property and things get tight, the housing suffers. She asked if that were likely to happen at Lincoln School. Ms. Burns replied that the only impact is that the Town’s borrowing limit will be lessened $7 million. The mortgage would be paid from the proceeds of the complex itself and would have no impact on the tax rate. The complex would also continue to make a payment in lieu of taxes.
Mr. Riley said that many years ago a previous Board of Selectmen sought a provision in the deed to give the town the right of first refusal in case of a sale and he feels that the present Board of Selectmen should exercise that right to provide the most possible affordable housing from this building for the longest possible time.
Ms. Burns raised the question of what would happen with the Town reaches the 10% target for affordable housing units. She said it is her point of view that there will always be a role for the Affordable Housing Trust because there is a need to defend affordable housing against market forces. There are many different programs and they define affordability differently but the fact remains that there is limited housing in town for people who are in the “average” income bracket for the Greater Boston area. Mr. Riley noted that to meet the goal of 10% affordable housing units there should be approximately 700 units.
Veterans Agent Mike Cunningham advised that a Cohasset couple who own a property on Fort Hill Street that had previously been group housing under a now defunct program run by DMR have agreed to make the housing available for veterans. The Board thanked the owners for their generosity.
Meeting adjourned 4:10 pm.
Interim Town Administrator