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Council Demands Tax On University Housing

By Bruce L. Paisner

If the Cambridge City Council has its way, the University will pay at least $140,000 per year in taxes or in lieu of taxes on the new Married Students Housing Complex.

The Council gave unanimous consent to a resolution by Councillor Walter J. Sullivan which requests the City Manager to arrange for Harvard and M.I.T. to pay taxes or an amount in lieu of taxes on married student apartment buildings "of at least fifty per cent of the assessed value of the property."

University officials have estimated that the multi-million dollar complex to be built below Dunster House could be worth about $200,000 in taxes to the City.

Charles P. Whitlock, assistant to the President for Civic Affairs, said last night that "the University will consider the needs of the City in its plans for the married students housing project."

The University will offer some annual payment in lieu of taxes to the City, because many of the couples living in the married students project will have children who attend Cambridge schools and use City facilities. The final amount which the University will offer to the City is expected to be considerably under $140,000.

Next week, the University will ask the Council to close off Sterling and Bank streets, two roads in the middle of the project site. The request will be discussed at a public hearing on June 18 or 25. According to Whitlock, who along with L. Gard Wiggins, administrative vice-president, will represent the University at the hearing, "the tax question will presumably be discussed then."

When first introduced yesterday, Sullivan's resolution did not contain any provision for possible payment in lieu of taxes. The bill was immediately opposed by Councillor G. d'Andelot Belin, who asserted that "the City cannot legally tax these dorms."

"I don't mind a bit of reasonable fun with Harvard from time to time," Belin declared, "but I don't like to see the City Council in favor of something prohibited by the laws of the Commonwealth."

Belin agreed to the resolution, however, when it was amended to include negotiation over "an amount in lieu of taxes."

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