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October 27, 2014

Boston Colleges Paying Less Than City Seeks for Services

Most of Boston's biggest institutions of higher learning contributed less than the city requested in payments in lieu of taxes for fiscal year 2014, but a majority of large nonprofit hospitals paid in full, according to a Boston Globe review. The city received $24.9-million from 49 educational, medical, and cultural institutions from which it sought a combined $34.6 million.

Big nonprofits' voluntary payments, intended to cover police and fire protection, snow removal, and other municipal services, have risen 64 percent since fiscal 2012. Boston officials adopted a policy in 2011 of asking organizations with more than $15-million in property to contribute 25 percent of what they would owe if they paid property tax, minus a "community benefits credit" for groups that show they provide unique services to residents.

Fifteen of the 19 colleges included in the request paid less than the city sought this year, with several, including Northeastern University, giving nothing. Eleven of 16 medical institutions in the program have met the payment benchmark in each of the last three fiscal years. Northeastern, from which the city requested $5.1-million, said it contributes more than $30-million a year in community programs and benefits.