The Town plans to use three primary forms of funding for this project:
- PILOT funds from the Westfield Crossing development
- Well-managed debt service leveraging the Town’s AAA credit rating
- A substantial capital campaign seeking grants, sponsorships, and contributions
When the proposal for the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) was announced in 2021 for the Westfield Crossing development on South Avenue, the Town indicated that those funds – expected to yield $20M over the 30-year developer agreement – would be utilized to offset a large portion of the related debt service each year for Edison Fields, thereby mitigating the burden on taxpayers.
Well-Managed Debt Service
Debt service, which is the repayment of the bonded funds for the project, would not start until 2024, at the earliest. As previously noted, the $11.8M is likely more than the anticipated final project cost to ensure maximum financial flexibility. As with all debt service, the full authorized amount does not get absorbed into the municipal budget at once, but rather over a 15-20 year period, as we do with other large-scale investments like municipal equipment purchases, road paving, etc.
In the first several years of debt service, the Town will likely utilize Treasury notes, which require interest-only payments, before it moves to the bond market to help offset the remaining debt service after PILOT payments. Because of the Town’s enviable AAA rating, we are in a position to obtain the most favorable terms and interest rates for our debt service, just as we do for other capital and municipal projects each year, allowing us to minimize the burden on taxpayers. For context, the Town has carried, on average, $3.14M in debt service each year over the last six years, during which time the average municipal tax increase was the lowest in over a decade.
In addition, we anticipate a capital campaign seeking grants, sponsorships, and sports league contributions to further offset costs. In fact, interest in donating toward this project has already been expressed by several local associations who are in the process of finalizing their plans.