"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

December 23, 2007

Strangers In The Night. Gazette Publisher And City Officials Break Bread.

At the City Council meeting last Thursday evening, we were witness to something you do not often see in public, with players you don't often see in the same room, though I understand one does what one has to when need be.

Sitting in the very back corner, quite literally, of the City Council meeting room, was the debonair publisher of Northampton's Daily Hampshire Gazette, Aaron D. Julien. There to address the City Council and Mayor on his behalf was the city's Economic Development Coordinator, Teri Anderson. A crew with influence, power and wealth in one neighborhood coming to kiss the rings of those who pull the triggers on the other side of town. The boss spoke in hushed tones only to his consigiliere, if at all. It was riveting drama, and included Ward 5 City Councilor David Murphy taking pains to note what a fine member of the community, and deserving institution, the Daily Hampshire Gazette is.

What could possibly have brought these divergent and at times oppositional players, together in the same room to act with politeness and a reserved wariness that permeated the air with such weight you could have reached out and grabbed it?

Money, obviously. Tax credits to be specific. The Gazette was looking for and received a tif credit from the City of Northampton in an amount totaling an approximately $4,500 exemption over five years. But would the publisher of the Daily Hampshire Gazette really grace the Council with his presence, even, as in this case, through a buffer zone of formal representation by the City of Northampton's economic development coordinator for $4,500? Well no, he's not that cheap.

The gold lining in this silver cloud was the money that becomes available to the Gazette from the State of MA by virtue of the City waiving the $4,500. In return for the municipal tax exemption, the State of MA will make available a $635,000 investment tax credit, to help encourage development, expansion, job growth, etc...relating to the notable growth and expansion the Gazette is undertaking at their headquarters on Conz St. You can read the quid pro quo expected of each party here. And just like that, having gotten what he had come for, Aaron was gone. I did not see if a driver picked him up in a black Lincoln outside, but I imagine one did.

--Daily Hampshire Gazette TIF Calculations - November 2007
--Application for designation of a new EOA within a previously approved ETA.
--Tax Increment Financing Agreement Between The City of Northampton And H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

LABELS: city council, city government, development, daily hampshire gazette,