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Special Town Meeting Called to Vote on Kronos Article

Numerous new jobs could be created.

Selectmen last night approved a special Town Meeting for Oct. 20, where town meeting reps will vote on one article that could create numerous new jobs in town.

The articles comes as Kronos, a company that develops employee management software, is considering expanding its world headquarters in Chelmsford. Kronos is currently located at 297 Billerica Road but has the option to lease a building across the street at 300 Billerica Road.

The article asks town meeting reps to OK a tax increment financing agreement, a measure that allows municipalities to provide flexible targeted incentives to stimulate job-creating development, according to the state.

"We have been having discussions with officials at Kronos and (the building landlords) regarding the renewal of the lease and retaining Kronos in Chelmsford," said Town Manager Paul Cohen. "One concern they had is leasing space across the street (from its current location.) It’s quite difficult for people travelling between the buildings as it's hard to cross (traffic). And leaving there, its difficult to exit left off Elliot Street to go on 495."

As a result, if town meeting reps give the OK, the town will also apply for a grant that will allow for traffic signals.

Kronos pays the town thousands of dollars per year in taxes, said Cohen, and if Kronos vacated, the town's tax base would be reduced.

"(They are) looking at investing $6 million into the buildings, which means a higher tax valuation and also a building permit fee for improvements," said Cohen.

Under the agreement, which would last for six years, Kronos would pay the full tax rate on the base value of the properties. Kronos would be either fully or partially exempted from property taxation on all or part of the increased value accrued as a result of development, according to the state's laws on the agreement.

"They're a stable employer," said Cohen.

Cohen said Kronos did not want him to specifically say how many jobs could be created under the agreement, but said it was "significant."

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