Opinion: Should “half in services” piece be eliminated from PILOT program?

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Contributed by Peter Dunn.

I know it’s summer and people’s minds are elsewhere, but there was an interesting article in the local paper about a month ago involving the town’s PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) program and its three biggest non-profits: Milton Academy, the hospital and the Curry College.

Some highlights

  • Together these three own 43% of the town’s taxable land. Assessed value of their tax-exempt property is over $330 million. $7+ million in taxes would be generated on these properties if they were owned privately.
  • Curry paid $82K as a voluntary payment on $125 million in tax-exempt property. No mention of Milton Academy or the hospital paying anything.
  • The PILOT committee suggested 25% of the taxable value of these properties being paid by these non-profits as part of the PILOT with up to half this amount being provided by services.

Thanks to the committee and selectmen for pushing the issue. These institutions utilize town resources paid for by the residents and should pay their fair share. It seems me that “half in services” piece should be eliminated as it is too difficult to monitor the “real” value of the services, the actual need in town for the services (are they saving us money?) and the process by which residents are provided access to them (must be fair and transparent). Dollars-and-cents wise, implementing this program would help relieve the tax burden 90% of which falls on the residential tax base.

What are people’s thoughts on all of this?

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