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Local meal tax proposed to fund Marlborough sports, tourism

COMMUNITY ADVOCATE – City Council President Trish Pope and Ward 1 City Councilor Joseph Delano are asking other councilors to join them in adopting a local tax on the sale of restaurant meals originating in the city. They presented a proposal at the council’s Nov. 4 meeting to establish a .75 percent meals tax and to use these funds to create a special revenue account – the Parks and Fields Development Special Revenue Fund.

In a communication to the council, they stated:  “The purpose of this act shall be to promote and to sustain the development of sports tourism through the development of parks and fields in the City of Marlborough and the local economy in the city.”

Delano stressed the action would help all city residents.

“In addressing youth sports and how to bring in more we are trying to lean on a model that has worked for us before. This can not only help youth but will benefit adults as well and help support tourism,” he said.

Pope noted, “We have many fields in the city but have difficulty in maintaining them and this will help.”

“If you spend $100 in a local restaurant you only add 75 cents for the tax,” she said.

The proposal was referred to the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee by an 8 to 3 vote, with councilors Matt Elder, Katie Robey, and Mike Ossing voting against the action. Elder said he was concerned with the timing as the councilors were about to approve a bond for improving Ward Park.

“I am opposed to the wording of the way the money is to be spent,” Robey said.

Mayor Arthur Vigeant voiced strong support for the meal tax proposal in a communication sent to the council and pledged his help on “making this innovative proposal a reality.”

He stated: “Several years ago, I championed the adoption of the hotels tax to fund ‘Marlborough 2010’ which eventually became the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation we know today. That initiative was not without its detractors. However, since its inception, the resulting commercial growth we have experienced makes that decision hard to argue with.”

“I have consistently heard from various athletic organizations across the city of the need for a synthetic turf field that can handle higher usage with less day-to-day maintenance as well as the desire to have a more sustainable way to address our growing athletic needs,” he added. “On similar lines, I believe the proposal put forth by councilors Pope and Delano offers us a tremendous opportunity to make needed investments in our athletic and recreational fields.”

This story originally appeared here.