Section 1. That the Town of Ashland shall be authorized to create an Economic Development Funding Program including the authority to establish grant and loan funds for the purpose of creating economic development tools and activities as follows:
Town of Ashland Economic Development Funding Program
It is hereby established in the Town of Ashland an Economic Development Funding Program which will create a loan and grant fund from which individuals or businesses may apply to borrow funds or receive grants for use on private property, and notwithstanding any other law to the contrary the Town of Ashland shall be permitted as hereinafter set forth, to create Economic Development Funding Program for the purposes set forth below and to be administered and carried out in accordance herewith.
I Purpose: The overall purpose of the Town of Ashland Economic Development Funding Program (“Program”) shall be to provide assistance to private business and individuals in order to encourage and facilitate economic growth and development, including creation of jobs, improvement and enhancement of buildings and infrastructure and increase of the value of the real estate tax and general tax base.
The Programs shall be administered by the Board of Selectmen who shall adopt rules and regulations, following at least fourteen (14) days notice and a public hearing. Said rules and regulation shall establish the qualifications for receipt of a loan or grant from the Program, including but not limited to; eligibility thresholds, repayment terms of a loan, operations, administration and other matters necessary to implement and carry out the Program.
III Funding: The Town shall be permitted to appropriate funds to support the Program and the Board of Selectmen shall be permitted to accept gifts of funds to support the Program to be held in a special revenue account. The Town Manager with the approval of the Board of Selectmen shall be permitted to establish sub-catagories within the special revenue account for a particular purpose established hereunder. All revenues received, including repayment of loan proceeds shall be held year to year in the special revenue account and all interest attributable thereto shall be credited to said account.
IV Programs: The Town Manager with approval of the Board of Selectmen may establish programs hereunder, through regulation, such as; sign and façade improvements, rent, utility and equipment support, leasehold improvements, operating capital, acquisition of land and buildings, new construction, building renovation, landscape and property improvements, machinery and equipment purchases, soft cost expenses related to real estate development. Except as noted above, funds may not be used for improvements to the interior of the business premises or to sidewalks or public walkways.
V. Expenditure: The Town Manager with approval of the Board of Selectmen shall be permitted to award grants and issue loans to businesses and individuals to be used on private property who qualify and are eligible in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Program. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no such grant or loan shall be made until the Board of Selectmen have adopted rules and regulations as noted in section II above.
VI. Reporting: The Town Manager shall annually provide a report to the Town including but not limited to the amount of donations or appropriations received, amount of grants or loans made and to whom, and the balance of the funds in the Program.
SECTION 2. That the General Court may make clerical or editorial changes of form only to the bill, unless the Board of Selectmen approve amendments to the bill before enactment by the General Court, and provided further that the Board of Selectmen is hereby authorized to approve amendments which shall be within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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