AYER -- David Maher, director of the Department of Economic Development, joined selectmen for a Tax Incremental Funding (TIF) discussion regarding decertified TIFs from the state.
Gary Boyer of L3 presented the company's current TIF status that the TIF Review Committee has already reviewed.
The state decertified L3's TIF in 2012 and did not notify the town.
"A grave concern for the committee was that the Board of Selectmen was never notified of the decertifications because we could have at least tried to act on it had we known," Chairman Pauline Conley said.
Nashoba Valley Medical Center's TIF was also decertified in 2013. The board wasn't aware of that either.
Boyer came to request information on how L3 could continue its TIF in Ayer. He said the only requirement of the TIF that L3 did not meet was that they fell short of their employee count by 40 people. Boyer said the head count was low due to a drop in government funding.
"We are committed to working with the town and we have a lot of support through the town," Boyer said.
"Had we known of the decertification, we could have taken some action as a board or as a town advocating for the company. I couldn't help but think that town meeting would have approved the head count," Conley said.
Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand said it's important that L3 came to put a face on the company. "Our goal is to better understand these TIFs, get these questions resolved and also to formalize an organized TIF process," Pontbriand said. "The town can only do what is allowed by the law."
"My first question comes to what wiggle room we may have here," Selectman James Fay said. "I want to do whatever I can to keep you, but there's not much we can do at this time."
"This company is phenomenal," Selectman Chris Hillman said. "They put in a new security system, they cut grass in the neighborhood and they pick up trash. They are really true blue and in the last five or six years that we have been there we couldn't have had better neighbors."
Fay restated that although he supports the company there isn't anything the board can do at this time until they get some information from the state regarding options for L3.
Boyer will attend the next TIF Review Committee meeting to further discuss the issue.
Maher addressed the issue of business certificates, and how they are dealt with at Town Hall.
Business certificates go through Town Clerk John Canney's office. As he administers the business licenses, he does not send out status updates to businesses needing certificate renewals.
Currently, 75 percent of businesses in town do not have an up-to-date business license or one at all.
At the request of Pontbriand, Maher solicited Knox and Canney for a meeting on Sept. 18 to discuss the issue and the possibility of having Canney send the status updates. After agreeing to the meeting, Canney was not in attendance due to his office being short on staff that day.
Although Canney is not required to send out the status updates, the board feels he should be.
"Those people that are up for having to review their permit don't even know it. Letting them know is not part of the statute, so we need to get to that point," Luca said.
Canney did not attend the selectmen's meeting because, it was noted, he feels he is following the existing statute. Selectmen expressed their disappointment in Canney's lack of interest in this matter.
"He is not going to do anything besides trying to get reelected and that is the only time he is put into action," Hillman said.
"If I have a responsibility in a certain area and someone tells me it's a potential revenue stream for the town, I would take that as my duty. I am very disappointed that the person in question isn't doing that," Fay said. "Like Chris, I am very disappointed that the action isn't being taken."
Pontbriand will request that Maher and Canney attend the next Board of Selectmen meeting to further discuss the business certificate renewals.