Monday, October 22, 2007

University PILOT Payments Detailed

The Boston Globe ran another story about university PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) to Boston and surrounding cities.  (BTW:  I carefully avoid repeating that repetitious phrase of redundancy, "PILOT payments.")  The story hook was a recent study by Newton's Blue Ribbon Commission on the Municipal Budget. 

A summary:

Berklee School of Music:  $175 thousand to Boston
Boston College:  $215 thousand to Boston; $100 thousand to Newton
Boston University:  $3.20 million to Boston
Harvard University:  $1.77 million to Cambridge; $1.75 million to Watertown; $1.60 million to Boston
MIT:  $1.22 million to Cambridge
Northeastern:  $137 thousand to Boston

How much is brought in by each city?

Boston:  $23 million per year (as of 2003)
Cambridge:  $3.6 million
Newton:  $100 thousand (apparently BC is the only university/college contributing)
Watertown:  $1.75 million (I'm not sure if there are any PILOTs other than Harvard)

The point put forward by Newton's Blue Ribbon Commission is that, for example, Boston College owns property in Newton with a combined, assessed value of $355 million -- one-third of the value of all the tax-exempt property owned within Newton -- and yet Newton only receives a very small PILOT.  (The remainder of the tax-exempt properties?  Roughly $300 million in governmental and religious institutional property.  Also, "Newton-Wellesley Hospital...  reported $392 million in net assets to the IRS in 2005," although assets are not the same as property holdings.)  BC's property value holdings are substantial, and their PILOTs appear disproportionately small by comparison to the other institutions listed here.

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