The following article was posted by the Salem News (salemnews.com)
Endicott College is increasing its donation to Beverly to $500,000 over the next three years, a total that includes the equivalent of the real estate taxes on two estates it has purchased in recent years.
Endicott announced the donations in a letter last month to Mayor Bill Scanlon, who praised the gesture in his State of the City address last week.
“The positive impact of Endicott’s remarkable growth over the past 25 years under the direction of President Richard Wylie is unmistakable,” Scanlon said.
Endicott, which as a nonprofit does not pay property taxes, has been donating $110,000 per year to the city for the last three years. Those payments will increase to $166,667 starting in July.
The new amount includes $66,667 that the college says is the approximate tax value of Hamilton and Wenham halls and Beechwood, two estates the school bought in 2008 and 2010. Hamilton and Wenham halls are now student residences, while Beechwood serves as Wylie’s home.
Wylie said the college will continue the practice of paying the equivalent in real estate taxes for properties it purchases in the future.
“We want to be an example of what is right,” he said.
Endicott College has grown considerably over the last decade. Its endowment is now more than $38 million, and the college has constructed more than $100 million worth of new or renovated buildings, including an arts center, a performing arts center, an athletic stadium, an inn and conference center, and several residence halls.
Construction on a $17 million life sciences and business building is scheduled to begin next month.
Wylie said he hears complaints from Beverly residents about the college not paying taxes but said many do not realize the full scope of Endicott’s economic impact, which he said extends well beyond the cash payments.
In a letter to Scanlon, Wylie said the college purchased more than $12 million locally in supplies and equipment in 2011, while students, faculty and visitors spent more than $8 million. He also said the city received nearly $800,000 in “revenues, donations and other support” in 2011, including more than $300,000 in building permits, fees and taxes; $300,000 in scholarships to Beverly residents; and more than $10,000 worth of tutoring services by Endicott students in the Beverly schools.
“These get lost, and they’re not identified and celebrated,” Wylie said in an interview. “Last year, it was almost $800,000 worth, but there are people here in town that don’t think we do anything, that we have this hotel and we don’t pay taxes.”
Most of Endicott’s 230 acres are tax-exempt, but the college does pay meal taxes and occupancy taxes for the Wylie Inn and Conference Center.
Wylie said other colleges have sought tax exemptions for their conference centers, but Endicott decided not to pursue that strategy.
“It’s foolish for us as an institution to be at odds with the city, as long as it’s noticed that that was a choice the college made,” he said.
The city has made efforts in recent years to persuade nonprofits to make payments or provide services in lieu of taxes.
Beverly Hospital paid $250,000 for traffic improvements on Herrick Street. Landmark School contributed $25,000 to the construction of the artificial turf field at the high school, while Montserrat College of Art pays $15,000 per year for maintenance of Beverly Common.
Scanlon also noted that Wylie wrote a personal check for $5,000 toward the turf field.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or by email at email@example.com.
THE ABOVE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED BY THE SALEM NEWS (SALEMNEWS.COM)
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