Council approves three-year PILOTs for four nonprofits

Council approves three-year PILOTs for four nonprofits

Mount likely to get state exemption

WOONSOCKET – Four city nonprofits that have been paying taxes on 35 percent of their assessment will see their bills go up incrementally over the next three years under agreements approved this week by the City Council.

Community Care Alliance, Connecting for Children and Families, Haven of Grace Ministries and Seven Hills RI will soon sign new three-year deals that will see the organizations taxed 40 percent for fiscal year 2017; 45 percent for 2018, and 50 percent in 2019. The organizations previously had two year PILOT agreements based on a 35 percent assessment, which are set to expire July 1.

Mount Saint Charles Academy, meanwhile, is on track to become tax-exempt under state law thanks to a bill submitted by Sen. Marc Cote that gained council support on Monday. The city has been taxing Mount about $76,000 a year on a portion of its real estate since 2015, but that could change if the legislation passes prior to the start of the current fiscal year.

The decision deviates from plans left behind by the Budget Commission, a state-appointed board that worked for three years to stabilize the city’s finances and avoid bankruptcy. That plan would have seen the organizations, which largely do charitable work and help the city’s at risk population, taxed at 100 percent.

On Monday, representatives from many of the groups spoke in support of the three-year PILOTS, saying that the full tax burden could ultimately shut them down.

“Any city is only as great as the way we service the most vulnerable among us,”said Linda Majewski a clinical supervisor for Community Care Alliance and former member of the School Committee. Majewski pointed out that out of district placements for the young students CCA services could cost the city $40,000 to $60,000 a year.

“We’re closing the gap for those children and decreasing the number of services they receive in their special education program,” Majewski said.

Councilor Christopher Beauchamp said he’d prefer to look at each of the organizations individually, and create PILOTS based on a variety of factors.

“I think they should all be treated separately,” Beauchamp said. “I don’t think they are all the same. They all do outstanding work. To tax them all at the same rate I think is wrong.”

But Councilor Garrett Mancieri pointed out that the issue has been discussed for a long time, and the organizations were looking for closure.

“Many have already adopted a budget for the upcoming year. I want to conclude this and get it done with,” Mancieri said. “We’ve dragged people to work session after work session.”

Council Vice President Albert Brien disagreed.

“We simply can not conscionably paint all these non-profits with the same broad brush,” Brien said. “The key here is their ability to pay. There are some who can afford to pay 100 percent and there are some who cannot afford to pay a dime.”

Councilor Daniel Gendron pointed out that the decision was being made without a recommendation from the administration, which would depend on the tax funding in the city’s financial plan. Finance Director Christine Chamberland said that minus a resolution, the organizations would be taxed 100 percent.

The resolution authorizing the mayor to negotiate the three year PILOTs passed by a vote of 4-3, with Brien, Beauchamp and Gendron in the minority voting against the deal.

MSC and Woonsocket Head Start were originally lumped into the council resolution, which specifies that only currently owned properties qualify for the exemption, but councilors voted to take up the two entities separately. While agreement was reached regarding supporting tax exempt status for Mount, an attempt by Councilor Melissa Murray to negotiate an even lower payment for Head Start ultimately left the early education program without a finalized deal. A new resolution for a PILOT agreement for Head Start is expected to be taken up at a future meeting.

Comments

We need to differentiate between "Non Profit" and Tax Exempt.... they are not mutually inclusive. A non profit such as the Stadium Theatre generates significant box office revenue and does not warrant a full tax exemption. The disingenuous "straw man" scenario that the Stadium brings in patrons from outside the city and they dine in our restaurants does not contribute to generating tax revenue.
Maybe all organizations should be taxed at the same rate as any other city business. A property tax benefit could be awarded based on a quantifiable monetary contribution to the community. Such as when a veterans organization organizes a food kitchen or helps to clean up a park. Mount St. Charles or any other private school who educates a city student without any funding from the state or city more than qualifies for a reduction in their projected city tax liability.
It's time our Politian's do the hard work they were elected to do rather than keep doing the same thing over and over...insanity at its finest.

RD, you wrote: "It's time our Politian's do the hard work they were elected to do".

I would amend your comment to say "It's time our Politian's do the hard work they were elected and PAID to do".

That being said, please note Councilman Mancieri's comment: "I want to conclude this and get it done with".

That's right - don't ask them to think hard about an issue, don't ask them to roll their sleeves up and get into the details and review facts and data in order to fully understand and vet the issue --- no, let's just Get It Done so they can go home.

Not ironically, that is the Mayor's new slogan for the City - "Getting it done".

As Judge Lanphear astutely noted in his Feb 4, 2016 Decision with respect to the Glen Hebert / Retiree lawsuit, "Many of the financial woes of the City of Woonsocket were self-created". Sadly, the tradition continues with the "let's just get this done" mindset.

"Getting it done" in Woonsocket means kicking the can. Politicians here and elsewhere are very good at it. They'll kick the can even more in July and a lot of posters in here will love them for it.

There's a difference between accomplishing tasks and just pushing paperwork... I think many people recognize that LBH does has gotten things done throughout her first several years of office. Like her or not, things seem to be turning around. The difference here is that you and your buddy Gendron are the biggest sticklers around, and speak with a false sense of concern about the city and its people, when, in fact, you would rather see the city go to hell in a hand basket if it meant the mayor was responsible. You over analyze and often make great projects or ideas sound unnecessary, improper, or a waste of time and money.

You seem bright Mr. Cournoyer. Maybe your intellect could be utilized more efficiently if you chose not to ramble on a free online newspaper. Do something positive with yourself.

Cheerio

Jacob,
What tasks are being accomplished? Paving streets? Easy when you have the money.

What projects are you referring to that have been made to sound unnecessary, improper or a waste of money?

Are you referring to the Charter School that the Mayor imposed on the city WITHOUT any discussion with the community?

Are you referring to WWI Veteran's Memorial Park, wherein we asked how it was going to be funded? When the Mayor was a State Rep, she scolded the DEM Director, accusing DEM of practicing "class warfare" when they would not commit to funding the ongoing operations for a period of time. State Rep. Baldelli-Hunt said "Maybe there isn't a clear understanding of the financial position the city is in. This is choosing to take advantage of a community just because we are Woonsocket, Rhode Island. This is class warfare, don't be mistaken."

So, when my "buddy" Gendron asks the same question, he is somehow "over analyzing"? Really?

Are you referring to the proposed takeover of the state owned vocational school (WACTC) wherein the City ends up with all the financial risks of refurbishing a facility that was allowed to deteriorate under State ownership?

Are you referring to the submitting of legislation that would prohibit truck terminals so that the Mayor's terminal would never have any competition? Sort of like passing legislation to eliminate any new second hand shops & pawn shops.

Are you referring to the Walmart fiasco wherein the Mayor held a dog & pony show Press Conference in Harris Hall announcing that Ardent Displays was purchasing the Walmart building, just five days AFTER he had notified the City that they were "going to respectfully decline to move forward with the purchase ... because from the first time we met, the overriding concern from day one was the yearly tax ...that put this property at more than double the tax at every other building we have under consideration"? Don't get me wrong - there was value to the press conference. It created a nice distraction from Jim Hummel's "Friends and Family Program" that was running in the press at the time and it provided Ardent Displays the leverage they needed to get an even better deal in East Providence.

Are you referring to the common sense, statutorily required concept of providing monthly financial updates? Perhaps you missed it, but the City had a little financial crisis that resulted in a Budget Commission. After that fiasco, I'm not sure why one would ever have to demand timely financial updates.

Are you referring to the fact that the City levied a Tax far in excess of what was needed due to the fact that the Administration and the Council were flying blind with respect to the City's financial condition? No big deal, right? Hell, we already have one of the worst tax burden in the State - so who cares if we add to it unnecessarily.

Are you referring to the issuance of Audited Financial Statements and Press Release that provided erroneous Surplus numbers?

Jacob, anybody can spend other people's money. That's easy. But in order to avoid what Judge Lanphear clearly identified - i.e. uninformed incompetence resulting in shooting oneself in the foot - you need to conduct business in a professional, businesslike manner. We're not licking stamps here. We're running a City and making decisions that impact people's lives.

I supported the Mayor when she ran. I will be the first to give her credit when credit is due. But please, spare us the "Getting it done" nonsense. The only things that have been done, other than sending out endless fluff press releases, were those that were done by the Budget Commission ... many of which were undone or diluted by the current administration.

You are right about one thing - there is a vast difference between actually getting things done versus pushing paper by sending our endless press releases saying you got things done.

Cheerio, ole chap.

Cournoyer, you are a joker. The community thinks that. Business owners think that. The city leaders think that. And the reason why you are afraid to run for any city position is because you are afraid for the voters to PROVE that.

We know you make a hefty salary at your real job, so God forbid you sacrifice for the city of Woonsocket. We know where you stand. Never met anyone that can talk the talk more than walking the walk.

BTW - stop talking like Senator Ted Cruz. You didn't support the mayor when she ran for office. Your big mouth along with Michuad was on the radio getting as much free air time as possible. Laughable you say you supported the mayor. Did you have a sign in your yard?

Woonded,

To answer your question, yes I had a sign for LBH on my lawn.

Also, I paid for and ran adds on the radio in support of her when she was being challenged for her District 49 seat, just prior to running for mayor. Additionally, I made a contribution to her mayoral campaign. And I wrote letters to the editor supporting and defending her - for example, when Dave Richards skewered her for her vote against the first Supplemental Tax. It was me that responded to Mr. Richard's attack - I don't recall you chiming in.

As previously noted, I will be the first one to give the Mayor credit when credit is due. I want nothing more than for her to be successful - but unlike you, I am not interested in BS.

Regarding being afraid - I have no fears. Rather, I am quite certain that it is YOU who is a afraid. Yes, you are a frightened little chicken, a coward that hides behind an alias. Don't be so afraid to walk the walk.

Not sure what your point is with regard to "getting as much free air time as possible", so I can't respond.

New flash in case you missed it: You don't need to run for office to care about your community or to participate in the decisions that affect you -- unless you are a simple minded sheep willing to be led by the nose to slaughter. Are you a sheep?

What sacrifices have you made for the City? Please share with us.

Lastly, rather than spewing uninformed nonsense (e.g. you didn't support the mayor), why don't you simply respond to the items I noted above - and please correct me if warranted. I am always happy to be enlightened - even if it is from an uninformed coward that is afraid to put their name to their words.

The budget commissioner came in with recommendations and not being followed because of politics.Same ole story

Within 10 years admissions will decline dramatically along with parishes.