Vote NO on June 22 at WHS!
Citizens for a better waterfield (CBW)
Daily Times Chronicle 6/17/2021
The "Hidden" $9M 2021 Override, Followed by $1M
(+escalation) Per Year for 99 Years
On June 22 at WHS, Winchester voters will have the opportunity to correct a significant mistake made in Spring Town Meeting.
Without the benefit of a proper financial analysis covering the 99-year period of the Lease in Article 6, Select Board asked Town Meeting to approve Article 6.The Deal Doesn’t Make Common Sense.The Deal will cost taxpayers $8-10 Million up-front in lost sale proceeds and $1 M annually (escalating each year) in missed property taxes and added student expense.The 2019 $10 Million Override has been fully spent as of FY 22.Debt Exclusion Overrides to Rebuild Lynch and Muraco Schools are on the Near Horizon.As the Town emerges from COVID-19, 2021 is NOT the time to Give a $3.5 Million Public Asset Away in Winchester’s Central Business District through a 99 year Lease.
The Select Board Did Not Do Its Homework before presenting this deal to Town Meeting.
Under Winchester’s Home Rule Charter, the action by Town Meeting is not final.
In just five days, 1,118 Winchester Voters signed a petition to the Select Board to put Article 6 before Winchester Voters.
Vote NO on June 22 at WHS!
Citizens for a Better Waterfield's Purpose
What every Winchester resident expects:
That Town Boards will consider all alternatives with an open mind, including the “Do Nothing” alternative, and including the effects on Schools, Parking, future Overrides, and the Town’s commercial and residential tax base.That Town Boards will prepare and present their own independent financial analysis of the pros and cons of all alternatives for major development of public land.That Town Boards will not rely solely (or primarily) on the financial analyses of developers as a substitute for independent financial analysis by the Town.That Town Boards will give residents a detailed explanation of the risks to the Town of becoming a 99-year Landlord on the Waterfield Lot, rather than proceed by sale.A Better Financial Result for the Town from development of the Waterfield Lot.
For example, if Town Boards are already willing to permit a 51,000 sq ft building on the Waterfield site, residents and CBW expect these same Town Boards to be willing to permit a similar scale development of commercial/office/condominium space through open competition that results in a sale that secures the best financial result for the Town.CBW believes this to be in the range of ~$8 Million upon a sale, and ~$1 Million in annual added tax revenue over the next 99 years.
No Select Board Numbers
No 99-year financial analysis of Article 6 by the Select Board or the Town ManagerNo Analysis of the cost of adding 30-60 students to Winchester SchoolsNo analysis of Lincoln School change in student numbers, need for redistricting schoolsNo Analysis of the Parking Receipts with and without Article 6.No Analysis comparing Property Tax Revenues over 99 years for:
Doing NothingArticle 6 – a 51,000 sq ft 60-unit residential rental facility (with Town as Landlord)A Competitive Sale pre-permitting a 51,000 sq ft Commercial/Office/Condominium Development (Privately Owned, Operated, and Managed)
No Net Present Value (NPV) to Town or Developer (Over 99 years)No Cumulative Cash Flow (CCF) to Town or Developer (Over 99 years)No Internal Rate of Return (IRR) to Town or Developer (Over 99 years)No SWOT Analysis of Financial Weaknesses to Town or Developer
FinCom used the developer’s numbers to Build a 99 year model.
Estimates of Net Present Value.
To Developer: Scenario 1 Project Fails. Scenarios 2 and 3, NPV of $23.2 million and $64.5 million.To the Town: Scenario 1 Project Fails. Scenarios 2 and 3, an NPV loss between $1.3 million and $1.8 million.
Estimates of Internal Rates of Return.
To Developer: Scenario 1 Project Fails. Scenarios 2 and 3, IRR of 27.6% to 35%.To the Town: Scenario 1 Project Fails. Scenarios 2 and 3, IRR is zero.
Estimates of Cumulative Cash Flow.
To Developer: Scenario 1 Project Fails. Scenarios 2 and 3, CCF of $514 million to $2.9 Billion.To the Town: Scenario 1 Project Fails. Scenarios 2 and 3, CCF of $27 million.
Other Alternatives Reviewed by FinCom
NPV of Cash Flow to Town: Scenario 1 - $1.9 million, Scenarios 2 and 3 - $9.7 million
Market Sale to Private Developer, Same Size and Scale as Article 6
NPV to Town Over 99 Years: Scenario 1 Project Fails. Scenarios 2 and 3, NPV of $10.1 Million to $13.6 Million.
1. “Select Board, Planning Board and other Town bodies have worked on Article 6 (the Waterfield Lot) for years.”
Correct, BUT without producing any relevant financial analysis of the impact of Article 6 on Winchester taxpayers.A “bad deal” is a “bad deal”, no matter how long it took to create it.
2. “A Referendum on Article 6 is somehow “unfair.”
Not true. Section 2-14 of Winchester’s Home Rule Charter says the opposite. The Waterfield Article is not approved. Our Charter gives voters a chance, by referendum, to correct mistakes made at Town Meeting.Town Meeting is our Legislature, but its actions on Article 6 is expressly subject to Referendum before voters.*Section 2-14 REFERENDUM PROCEDURES: (a) Effective Date of Final Votes – No final vote of a town meeting on any warrant article, . . . , shall be operative until after the expiration of five days from the dissolution of the town meeting. If a petition is not filed within the said five days, the votes of the town meeting shall then become operative.
3. “Opponents of Article 6 have nothing better to propose.”
False. The Home Rule Charter limits what Citizens for a Better Waterfield (CBW) can do. The ONLY thing that CBW can do is place Article 6 before voters for a Yes or No vote.CBW obtained 1118 signatures in only 5 days, 633 more than the 485 needed to call upon the Select Board for a referendum on Article 6.Citizens for a Better Waterfield urge Winchester residents to vote NO on Article 6 in the Special Election that will occur on June 22 at WHS.
4. “Article 6 provides safe harbor from Chapter 40 B from March 2022 through FY 2024 or FY2025, when the Waterfield Project Opens.
Not Correct.FinCom was advised by the Town Planner that the Town will get a “one-time” “one-year” safe harbor from the Project. CBW understands there will be a two-three year gap from March 2022 to mid 2025 when there is no “safe harbor” from Article 6.
Why Sign the Referendum Petition?
The One-Time Land Value Lost on the Waterfield Parcel is Close to the Last Override ($8-$10M)The Annual Value Lost on the Waterfield Project is Close to the Debt Service on the Vinson-Owens School Reconstruction ($1 Million Per Year)Select Board Concedes Article 6 Provides No Safe Harbor from Chapter 40B between March 2022 and FY2024 (or FY2025).FinCom confirms that the 2019 Override of $10 M has been spent.Winchester is Facing Three More Overrides (For Lynch School, For Muraco School, Another General Operating Override)The End of the COVID-19 Pandemic Is No Time To Impose a Hidden Override on Taxpayers
Article 6 Is NOT Final.
Residents Have Five (5) Business Days from May 17 to Call for a Referendum480 Signatures Will Suspend Article 6, and send it to VotersYour Signature is Not a Commitment, But Allows All Winchester Residents To Have Their Voices Heard