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December 18, 2012

Beverly mayor’s veto of tax-break law stands

BEVERLY — City councilors last night stood by Mayor Bill Scanlon’s veto of a law unanimously passed by the council last month that would create a tax break for residential developments on Rantoul Street.

While the vote to override Scanlon’s veto received a 5-4 majority vote, the motion failed to achieve the required two-thirds vote, or six votes.

Councilors Donald Martin, Brett Schetzsle, James Latter, Jason Silva and Scott Dullea supported overriding the mayor’s veto.

After the vote, councilors agreed they support the tax break but debated on how to move forward with the proposal. In the end, they decided to have further discussions with the Finance and Property Committee before the matter makes its way back to the full council.

“We just have to figure out a plan that benefits the city and serves as an incentive to potential developers who want to invest in the district,” City Council President Paul Guanci said after the meeting.

The council voted at the end of last month to grant a discount on property taxes to developers in hopes of reviving a section of Rantoul Street near the train station. The council set the discount at a fixed 70 percent for the first five years and 30 percent for the next five years.

During the Dec. 3 council meeting, Scanlon rejected a law unanimously passed by the council that would create a tax break for residential developments on Rantoul Street.

In a statement addressed to councilors, Scanlon said he agrees with the concept of a tax break but that the mayor should have the authority to negotiate the amount of the discount with developers.

In his 17 years as mayor, Scanlon has rarely vetoed legislation passed by the council. Scanlon said he has used his veto power at least once, but he could not remember the issue.

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