SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 16, 2013

Selectman wants Prep to contribute in lieu of taxes

Thorny issue in Danvers, where school has strong ties

(Continued)

But Clark brought up the issue as part of a discussion last week about the town’s budget policy for the upcoming year. The town has not developed a PILOT policy, but Marquis said the town would seek opportunities for them as they arise.

“In most cases, nonprofit entities — the YMCA, churches, St. John’s Prep, private schools, what have you — are exempt, and there is no requirement we can impose on them to pay to us,” Marquis said.

Still, many cities and towns are seeking contributions from large nonprofits as municipal budgets are squeezed. Salem, for example, negotiated payments from Peabody Essex Museum, Salem State University and Northeast Animal Shelter when those nonprofits purchased formerly commercial properties that would have been lost to the tax rolls.

Communities like Boston, Cambridge and Brookline have PILOT policies with formulas to figure out what a nonprofit entity should contribute based on its demand for services, Marquis said. In most cases, it works out to be “25 cents on the dollar,” he said, when it comes to covering costs of the services they use.

But such agreements are “strictly voluntary,” he noted.

Danvers has PILOT agreements with the owners of two large medical facilities. Partners Healthcare, which owns the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care on Endicott St., paid the town $93,249 last fiscal year, according to Chief Assessor Marlene Locke. At its assessed value of more than $74 million, this property would have generated $1.5 million in property taxes.

Northeast Hospital Corp. paid Danvers $37,324 for the Lahey Outpatient Center on Maple Street. At its assessed value of nearly $27.3 million, the facility would have generated almost $552,000 if taxed commercially.

“We now receive a considerable amount of money annually, and those amounts go up each year as a result of voluntary PILOTS that we negotiated with those institutions,” Marquis said.

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