PEPPERELL -- At the Special Town Meeting scheduled for Oct. 29, Article 12 will ask the town whether or not they will approve a tax increment financing agreement for Masy Systems, Inc. The company hopes to make improvements to the property without having to pay the full amount of the increase in property taxes that would result from the improvements. The money that would be saved would then go to focus on the business and create more job opportunities in the local area.
The agreement would last for 20 years and the percentage of the exemption would decrease in five-year increments. For the first five years, the company would be exempt from paying 90 percent of the increase. By the last five years, they would be exempt from paying 10 percent of the increase.
For the company's part, they would be required to create a minimum of seven new job opportunities for the region within the first two years of the agreement.
"The idea is it's supposed to be mutually beneficial agreement," said John Coolidge, biorepository manager at the company. "The money that would be used to pay property taxes would instead be used to focus on the business and create more job opportunities."
The largest improvement to the property is the installation of an ultra-low temperature freezer. The installation is set to be complete on Nov. 15. The company has already hired two new employees in the biorepository department due to the expansion and expects to introduce several more
"Whenever you put anything into storage, you need someone here to receive it and you need people to pull it back out and ship it out to wherever it's headed. In addition, it's not like storage...in a temporary storage lot...It's a very advanced, specialized type of storage. It requires 24/7 monitoring and response in case of (mechanical) problems," said Coolidge.
The ultra-low temperature freezer will be 6,000 cubic feet and set at a temperature of negative 80 degrees Celsius. The purpose would be for Masy clients, all of whom are in the life science and pharmaceutical fields, to be able to store and preserve items ranging from ingredients for medication to blood and tissue samples.
"The idea is similar to why you put milk in the fridge or meat in the freezer, to prevent it from spoiling so you can use it another day. In general, the colder you keep something, the less subject it is to decay," said Coolidge.
But job applicants don't need a degree in life sciences to qualify for the job.
"It's not like working in a doctor's office where they might be looking for a background in the medical field," said Coolidge.
The primary qualifications are "You need to have very good attention to detail, and just a good professional attitude towards work," he said.
The company, which began 28 years ago out of the home of Laurie and John Masiello, became incorporated in 1995. In 2008, they signed a tax increment financing agreement that required them to report the number of employees from the towns of Pepperell, Groton, Shirley, Ayer and Devens and how Masy had invested in building, improvements and equipment. From 2008 to 2011, the number of employees went from 29 to 58, and 11 of the newly added employees were from the local area, according to Laurie Masiello, president and CEO. Out of the approximately 60 current employees, 19 are from the five-town target area, and seven more from neighboring Townsend.
Although they can't favor applicants due to the region they live in, Coolidge said they do make an effort to advertise employment locally.
Masiello said that the agreement was a three-way partnership between the company, the town and the state.
"We put something in and the town has to put something in, and it opens us up to a much larger incentive on the state level," she said. "For the small piece the town puts in, we really feel we give that back."
Masy has donated funds for several town purposes, including equipment for the town field playground and the skateboard park.
"We're invested in the community. We've been here for 34-and-a-half years," said Masiello. "This is my town, this is where I raised my children ...Creating this many jobs is a benefit to the community."