University Will Not Pay More to Boston
Harvard Refuses to Increase Contribution
The University is refusing to comply with a city of Boston request that it increase its annual voluntary contribution to the city, a Harvard official said yesterday.
Since Harvard is a non-profit institution, it is largely exempt from Boston city taxes. But Harvard has traditionally offset the loss of city revenues with a voluntary contribution, including a payment of more than $1 million in the past year.
Because of Boston's recent financial troubles, which largely stem from statewide fiscal woes, the city is now asking the University to step up its voluntary contribution.
Can't Afford It
"They say that they can't afford the program," Thaddeus J. Jankowski Jr., the city's assessor, told the Globe this week. "We say we can't afford to provide them services if they don't. They have to realize there are financial problems in the city as far as providing services."
Jankowski did not return phone calls made by The Crimson yesterday.
Director of Community Relations Kevin A. McCluskey '76 said yesterday that he sympathizes with the city's attempts to get more money from Harvard, but added that the University is as strapped by financial difficulties as the city.
"These are very difficult times, with cities looking for every possible means of revenue," McCluskey said. "We are just like a municipality and must also reduce spending to a certain extent given our difficult economic times."
"We will continue our discussions with the city," McCluskey added. "For now, our policy will stand."
McCluskey said he is not concerned that the city will lower the amount of services it currently provides the University. "We don't take that seriously," he said. "That is not likely to happen."
The $1 million voluntary contribution the University currently makes to the city includes payments to compensate for lost revenues from the Soldiers Field Park residential complex and the Business School's Shad Hall fitness center, McCluskey said. The University recently worked out an agreement to pay the city of Cambridge an additional annual $100,000 payment over the next 10 years to compensate it for land recently removed from the tax rolls. That increase brings Harvard's annual voluntary contribution to Cambridge to more than $1 million.
McCluskey said that Harvard's refusal to step up its monetary.
McCluskey said that Harvard's refusal to step up its monetary contribution to the city of Boston is partially offset by the fact that the University sponsors several community service programs in that city.
"We feel very good about the extent that Harvard students in particular and Harvard University in general contribute to the enhancement of the quality of life in the Cambridge and Boston communities," McCluskey said.