By: Tammy Daniels On: 05:36PM / Monday August 15, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — According to reports from The Manchester (Vt.) Journal, a New York bedding company looking for a new home has decided on Vermont.
WCW Inc., a manufacturer of speciality mattresses for the hospitality and medical industries had also been eyeing the former Sprague building in the Hardman Industrial Park. The city was prepared to offer a property tax incentive and declare the site an economic opportunity development area to open up incentives from the state. The City Council was expected to take up the matter at its meeting next week.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he had spoken with WCW owner John Wilkinson on Monday morning and Wilkinson seemed to be leaning toward Manchester. However, he had received no notice by late afternoon on Wilkinson's decision.
Alcombright said he had been retooling figures to offer a better benefits package.
The Hoosick Fall, N.Y., company would have brought 100 jobs and a payroll estimated at $4 million to the city with the potential for growth. WCW had narrowed down its new location to either North Adams or Manchester. It was expected to make a decision early this week.
The Manchester Journal quotes Manchester Select Board Chairman Ivan Beattie as saying, "Clearly, WCW's relocation from New York State to Manchester is proof-positive that the town's tax and development policies and new economic development office are paying dividends."
Wilkinson told the Journal that he expects the company to begin operating "marginally" in the 160,000 square foot building in 30 days and be fully operations in 4 to 5 months. The building, known as the Applejack building, is currently occupied by Applejack Art Partners.
The paper said Gov. Peter Shumlin's office was expected to make an announcement on Tuesday after the state offered to provide an incentive package for the company to move there.
The town's community development office gave "no comment" last week on which site WCW was eyeing; the Manchester Journal speculated it was the Applejack Arts building but gave no further information.
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I wonder how much affect those who attacked this company because they hate Dick Alcombright had on this decision? Did the Manchester media hype the planted and misleading story about the foreclosure in Hoosick Falls?
I'll be curious what Wilkinson finally says led him to Manchester and away from North Adams.
Let them go. DA has been spending more time offering a better package. Next it will be a tax free deal. Instead of working on items to take care of employees and our schools hes trying to figure out a way to fatten a tax cheating businessman. Thanks DA.
Be patient; follow the money. If true, the Applejack building is no equal to the Sprague building. WCW can afford Applejack, although they would love to be in the upscale Sprague building. They'll never be able to sell the HF buidling, making things all the harder. All shall be revealed.
This whole subject should NEVER had been broached with the council nor released to the City until a deal was solidified. This whole event reflects how naive and green our mayor is. He NEVER should have made such a big deal about this potential purchase and move. The hopes of many were raised and due to a serious lack of inexperience and immaturity we lost out on this deal. When will people learn that we have very weak leadership and that you need only look around to see how serious of trouble North Adams� in. Shame on you Mr. Mayor - hopefully next time you will learn when to keep certain potential business deals under wraps until you have something substantial to deliver. I also believe it was wrong of the press to hype this us especially in such a down and depressed economy.
Editor: Here, here - our leaders should never let us know what's going on with our money until they've got it all tied up. I Agree (9) - I Disagree (3)
I think we need to attract more businesses like the mattress company. Its our loss as a city that we werent able to land them. I agree the tax issue should have stayed out of the media however. It may have hurt our chances. I actually agree that the taxes were too high for that company in NY so I dont blame them for leaving that State. I would love to see them change their mind and reconsider NA.
Editor: The tax issue could not have stayed out of the media. These are public funds that required public approval. The company knew what was being offered; the public knowing the basic outline didn't change that. It was also only one part of a bigger package that included state incentives and private bargaining. I Agree (6) - I Disagree (1)
"On behalf of the town of Manchester, it's a great pleasure to welcome WCW, Inc. to Manchester," stated Ivan Beattie, the chairman of the town's Select Board. "The effort represents an extraordinary collaboration between the town of Manchester, BCIC and the state of Vermont. Clearly, WCW's relocation from New York State to Manchester is proof positive that the town's tax and development policies and new economic development office are paying dividends."
Oh, so that's how you welcome a new business to your community. For a while there I was convinced by the Barrett backers that calling them deadbeats was just the enticement they needed to come here. Good job, John and company. Can't wait to see the press release from Barrett claiming Alcombright "let WCW get away." And hey Billings, happy you got your way? I mean, North Adams didn't need 100 jobs anyway, right? Thanks for moving to Rhode Island - they can keep you.
Editor: We should be a bit skeptical about things but the negative piling on that happens in this community astounds me. Did all the positive people move away? I Agree (18) - I Disagree (0)
Sorry editor, but if "the tax issue could not have stayed out of the media," why is it that your pal McKeever only mentions it in passing in his article in the Journal, and attributes it to "a report in the North Adams Transcript." Seems to me that means the Manchester Journal did not report it before the decision was made - and gee - look where the company ended up. Since we're doing a witch hunt on tax scofflaws, time for you to write a nice long piece on all of the deadbeats not paying their property taxes right now who are already in North Adams - businesses and residential.
Editor: Mr. McKeever is not my "pal"; I don't even know him. There are two, yes, two Andrew McKeevers. My McKeever goes by Andy in attempt to prevent confusion - he also doesn't work in Vermont, he works for me.
Secondly, there seems to be some confusion about the taxes. I was referring to the abatement that was being offered, not the taxes owed to Hoosick Falls.
I can't control what another news outlet covers. The Journal is a weekly and it did cover the tax issue, LAST WEEK.
Finally, are you saying if I find out something negative about a company, I shouldn't report it? Just the good stuff, right? I Agree (6) - I Disagree (0)
Wrong fails to realize that the story of the move and the contest between the two cities had already been made public by the company. The public gesture of FinCom approval of the tax break was perfectly appropriate given the speed the decision was going to be made.
If the previous mayor had not split the tax rates too the point where North Adams has almost the highest rate in the commonwealth, the owner might not have felt the need to whip saw two high tax communities off of each other to begin with.
This town's pettiness still amazes me after 40 years.
What is wrong with this city? I cannot believe what has happened to North Adams over the past two years. We are so desparate for strong leadership in our city and I don't see it coming from the two who are running for Mayor. The bottom line is that this who thing should have never gone public until there was a deal. You never announce anything until they have signed on the dotted line! Before the Alcombright people start blaming everybody under the sun I would suggest you look to the corner office for answers. The press got a release from a Mayor who is sooooooo in need of anything positive to announce besides a booze party on Eagle Street. The fails and now the Alcombright supporters want to blame everybody they can. You people better wake up fast that North Adams is in trouble and all this Mayor has done is blame everybody for his failures.
Manchester Journal didn't post one negative post after their story. The only negative part of their story was referring to North Adams Transcript story about their tax issue. Would you want to move to a place that shakes your hand and rolls out red carpet or one with a lynch mob reading to burn you before you step on their property. The negative posters should feel real good about themselves. What did our media learn from this? Next time a prospective business is looking here huge negative headlines don't help.
Editor: From the Transcript's later conversation with the mayor, the Vermont incentive package was about twice the size of Massachusetts' and the property was bigger allowing for expansion and/or tenants.
Certainly the negative comments were rife and had an effect. Calling a company you want to move here a "deadbeat" has repercussions. I Agree (11) - I Disagree (1)
If you were here for 40 years you would know that Mayor Lamb instituted the two tax system with the support of Councilor Daniel Alcombright. Appears you live in our neighboring community to the west. I have watched North Adams politics for many years and i can say very confidently that this is a classic case of the people who are in charge being in over their collective heads. Moving south soon to retire and I can only hope North Adams can get its act together.
failures. You don't get it. It required council approval to meet deadlines. Not deals behind closed doors. It would be nice to keep it a secret knowing now how the media went negative on them, but that's not legal. Hoosic Falls knew about it in advance and their people and media had dignity unlike fools on these boards that want the worst to happen to North Adams.
Editor: Hoosick Falls was going after them in the press! I Agree (2) - I Disagree (2)
After Lamb, Barrett had twenty six years to eliminate or narrow that split. He didn't try. He could have a couple of times when the economy improved. Instead he let businesses continue to suffer. We got low taxes and no new jobs.
Editor: Agreed, but the Journal is a weekly and it did run a story by the Banner last week about the tax dispute. However, it's readership is apparently far more civilized - or less engaged - than ours.
Perhaps we should eliminate all comments; we've certainly discussed it. Free speech isn't a right, it's a responsibility that few bother take seriously. I Agree (7) - I Disagree (2)
Kill the comments. As long as anonymous folks can say almost whatever they want without any accountability, there is no upside for the community. Let Topix be the bastion of cowards and the embittered.
It doesn't seem to me as if the comments here, or the Mayor for that matter, had anything to do with WCW's decision. It sounds as if the State of Vermont had a better incentive package, and the building there is larger. Those are tangible, reasonable criteria for making a decision, and there is nothing North Adams could have done.
What this does point to is the need for a real economic development strategy in North Adams, one that focusses on local job creation, not simply hoping that we can snag existing businesses and jobs from other localities. Although it always sounds appealing, it isn't a sustainable economic development model.
My apologies, editor, for the mixup, but given the similarity in names, it's a pretty easy mistake to make between Andrew McKeever and Andy McKeever, wouldn't you say? More to my point, you say you shouldn't avoid bad news about a business, well, let's point to existing businesses. A certain guy named Ransford owes the city of North Adams six figures in back taxes, which has existed for many years. And yet he is again going before a town board for approval for a new business. Isn't it time a story is written exposing just how much he owes the city in taxes at a time when he wants to open another business - which happens to be a liquor store, right next door to a bar and right across the street from another bar. His new business will create zero jobs, since his family will run it, and he will once again fall behind on taxes on that property, which is his pattern. He pays up on a single property to get his permit, then a year later is in default again. I think that's more of a story than the WCW Hoosick mess.
Editor: The McKeevers are easy to mix up, which why I explained the difference. Yes, Mr. Ransford's issues with the city are long running and have had far more of an effect on the city than one company's decision to come here. I Agree (1) - I Disagree (0)
How about this mayor and council giving the tax payers the highest taxes in 26 years and pushing for not one but soon could be number two override.
Just something to think about.
Say what ever you may but their is only one reason for Manchester over North Adams and it all boils down to money.Vermont made the best offer plain and simple and to blame a handfull of bloggers is a joke.
What is the cost of electricity in North Adams compared to Manchester? The Berkshires have some of the highest rates in the state, and the state has some of the highest rates in the nation, but the subject is taboo, and never discussed.
Please define "someone else's blog." iBerkshires offers a comment section for stories, and asks site visitors to comment. I wasn't aware that iBerkshires had passed its blogs over to you to dictate terms...
My comment was about freedom of speech was about being a right. As for the blog It seems like an open forum to me. I don't believe new jobs would have come. most present employees will commute to the new location. My guess would be when the tax break ends in vermont they will pack up and look at north adams again.
Editor: I would highly doubt it. They were looking for a place to expand; the Applejack building appears to fulfill that need - along with the largesse from the state that went with it. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (1)
Applejack is operating under bankruptcy even after a grant from the state, cheap property to buy. Bank the money and when its time to finally pay taxes, vacate.. no loss to them up and moving again
Unfortunately, it appears that Vermont has a much faster method of implementing incentive programs for prospective businesses than Massachusetts does. Our Governor lives in Berkshire County. I know he's not here all the time, but if at some point in all of this he had been convinced to meet with Wilkinson personally, that may have helped to convince WCW to wait for a formal plan from North Adams and the state.
Did we really need a business that would provide probably only 20 jobs (20%) and couldn't come here unless they got a huge tax break? Not to mention the financial bad taste they are dealing with in NY.
Is somebody honestly not aware that iBerkshires can refuse, censor, edit, etc... any comment(s) they wish. If you tried to challenge their actions based upon the First Amendment, you would be laughed out of court and end up paying all of their legal expenses.
Alcombright was played like stratavarious. The mattress company used N. Adams to bolster their deal in Manchester. Dickie should never had opened his yap. I knew it was going to turn out bad when he announced a prospective deal. Always wait until you have a deal in hand.
Clearly NA-Res is in error about procedure---True the TIF would have to be voted on by the Council--BUT it should not have gone to the FinCom first-- nor did it ever have to go there--the FinCom acts on what is referred to it by the Council-- it works for the Council and NOT the Mayor--whereas the Mayor could have made the announcement in a press conference--he chose to make it before the FinCom which has no jurisdiction on the issue unless referred to by the Council---nothing ever HAS to be discussed in Committee---what goes to Committee is a decision of the Council---to put it simply- the Mayor snubbed the Council where the vote would ultimately have to be taken--furthermore- time was of the essence-- and the Mayor could have presented the issue to the Council at the August 9th meeting--OR better yet called a special meeting (screw the FinCom) and go into executive session to discuss the issue/proposal (see Chapter 23B section 6)----but noooooooooo-- make a big splash in the FinCom-- not be prepared to bring it to Council until the meeting of the 23rd-- AND if voted on favorably by the Council -pass it on to the State (which as you know as a record of speed)---VT beat the City to the punch--and even so-- what Manchester had to offer was superior to North Adams---if the Mayor had done as I have outlined herein---still Manchester wins----it was a no win proposition for the City anyway--but it could have been handled with less ineptitude
Then ... let\'s see a story about it! If Ransford is cheating the city by not paying his taxes, I\'d like to know. If I wasn\'t paying my taxes, you can be sure the city would be pestering me to pay. What has Ransford got, that I don\'t?
Editor: Liens on your properties. That's the only tool municipalities have for going after back taxes: They charge interest and penalties, place liens, go to court to take the properties. Court can take years but cities really don't want the properties because they're rarely in good condition. I Agree (2) - I Disagree (0)
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.