Committee formed to research PILOT donations

by susan on August 13, 2009

Fay School West Campus

New dorms at Fay School's West Campus

The Boston Globe today has an article on PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) donations by nonprofits, and it focuses largely on Southborough. Of note, here’s a quote from a Fay School spokeswoman that I’m sure you’ll appreciate:

The Fay School feels an obligation to be a good citizen of Southborough. To meet that obligation, the school makes a voluntary contribution of money as a sign of their appreciation for the services, particularly police and fire services, that the town provides the school.

While they recently increased it, Fay’s $10K annual donation to the town is still the lowest of the four major nonprofits by a fairly wide margin.

At their meeting on Tuesday night, selectmen created a committee to research the PILOT situation in town. On the committee will be Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf, Finance Director Brian Ballantine, and Principal Assessor Paul Cibelli.

Selectmen also interviewed and appointed two residents, Paul Levenson of Carriage Hill Circle and James Kane of Waterview Terrace. Both have had long careers in business and management.

‘A positive dialog’
The committee is charged with collecting data about what the nonprofits offer the town — monetarily and otherwise — along with what they utilize in services. The committee’s report is expected to be presented at the annual town meeting next April.

“It’s a tough time to look to anyone for additional support,” Selectman Bill Boland said. “But it’s something that has to be done.”

“The committee represents the town,” Phaneuf said. “We need a positive dialog.”

Selectman Sal Giorlandino agreed and cautioned the committee, “The debate has gotten really charged. We don’t want to go down that road.”

What other towns get
A primary focus of the committee will be to research what towns in similar situations receive from nonprofits. According to the Globe article, Groton sees $100K annually from the Groton School. The Concord Academy does not have a PILOT agreement with the town, but does make annual donations to the fire department and library. Neither Newton nor Brookline receive any PILOT donations from their private schools.

If you’re new to all this PILOT stuff and you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, you can read up on it here.

1 Jonas August 13, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Attention Fay School Parents…

Please be prepared to see an increase in your childs tuition next year to offset the PILOT fees which Fay has been dodging for lets see, FOREVER.

Great work by the Town to put this committee in place and I wish them well to collect whats fair to the town.

2 GreenQueen August 13, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Seems like the tuition from ONE student for their PILOT payment would not be too much to expect.

3 John August 13, 2009 at 5:26 PM

I have what I feel is a legit question: Does the Principal Assessor go into each and every building that is tax exempt, and assess it’s value as he would for any taxable building in town? If so, I would love to see what some of these tax free buildings are worth compared to what taxed properties are assessed evey year.

4 bob a August 14, 2009 at 7:44 AM

These private schools provide faculty housing.

Any idea how many faculty kids attend our public schools?

How many police and fire call on an annual basis do these schools generate?

St marks has a HUGE endowment and can easily afford 100k per year like groton.

Fay just acquired a large estate in town, removing it from the tax rolls.

Fay could also most likely afford 100k.

If not, let these schools have their own police and fire departments and charge for each student enrolled in our public school.

10k is a joke!

5 Doc August 24, 2009 at 11:09 AM

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