Friday, March 24, 2017

In the News: Liquor manufacture tasting rooms; OPEB liabilities a concern

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Is craft beer the secret ingredient to revitalization? Some area towns would make that argument and now Franklin may want in on the action. 
The Town Council will be considering a zoning change that would allow microbreweries or wineries with tasting rooms in vacant spaces in non-residential areas of town. 
The move was discussed at an Economic Development Committee meeting this week, with Deputy Town Administrator Jamie Hellen noting that craft beer had been going through a renaissance of late. 
"We've done quite a bit of research," he said. "We did take the bulk of this (proposal) from the city of Salem, and we know there's a very successful facility up in Hudson."

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"Though the town received a clean bill of fiscal health this week, local officials said they were concerned about looming retirement liabilities. 
The Town Council Wednesday heard the results of an audit by Andover firm Melanson Heath. Despite an overall positive report, auditors noted that the town's Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability - covering non-pension retirement benefits for employees - was listed at $48 million and will be increasing to about $93 million in 2018 because of a change in reporting standards. 
Melanson's Frank Biron noted that the town had opted to contribute $600,000 this year to fund that liability. 
"That's very good; unfortunately, it's a very large liability, too," he said. "You're not alone in that - other Massachusetts municipalities are in the same boat."

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