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Boston University negotiating PILOT agreement with Brookline

Posted by Brock Parker  June 23, 2010 11:40 AM

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Boston University could pay Brookline almost $400,000 in lieu of taxes in the upcoming fiscal year in what town officials said Tuesday is the first agreement of its kind with the school.

Though the final details of the payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, program are still being ironed out, town and university officials said Tuesday they are confident they will be able to sign off on the agreement in early July.

“We are very, very proud that we’ve been able to come to an agreement on this,” said Gary Nicksa, vice president of operations for Boston University. “We really look forward to completing this in very short order.”

Nicksa appeared before Brookline selectmen Tuesday to discuss what would be the highlights of the PILOT program. Payments from area colleges and universities, which are generally exempt from property taxes, have been controversial in recent months, as Boston, Brookline and other cities struggle with their finances.

Brookline Finance Director Stephen Cirillo said Boston University will begin paying the town 25 percent of the annual taxes that the school is exempt from paying each year because most of the university’s property in Brookline is used for educational purposes.

The agreement being hashed out between Brookline and the university will also include provisions for payments for any property that the school buys and converts into an exempt use in the future.

In the first year of the agreement, which would be Fiscal Year 2011, Cirillo said the university would pay the town $380,000 to $390,000.

Boston University already has a PILOT program with the City of Boston, and Brookline Town Administrator Richard Kelliher said the agreement with the town a “momentous occasion” that the town had been working to achieve for years.

“This is the first time in the history of the relationship between BU and the town of Brookline where university officials and town officials have come to an agreement on a payment in lieu of taxes,” said Kelliher said.

Selectwoman Nancy Daly said Brookline had felt “a little left out” because Boston University had PILOT program with Boston, but not the town.

“We’re very delighted to see the university recognizing some of the benefits that you get from being in Brookline and stepping up to the plate here with this,” Daly said.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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