Brown U. to pay RI city $31.5M more to help budget

May 1, 2012, 8:17 PM

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Brown University will voluntarily pay Providence $31.5 million more over the next 11 years to help address financial problems that Mayor Angel Taveras has warned could put the city on the brink of bankruptcy.

Taveras and Brown President Ruth Simmons announced the landmark agreement Tuesday at the Statehouse, backed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee and top lawmakers who helped shepherd both sides through the often difficult negotiations.

The deal caps months of contentious dialogue between the tax-exempt Ivy League school and its struggling host city and hands Taveras a key victory in his efforts to resolve a $22.5 million budget deficit.

“We face tremendous challenges,” Taveras said. “We’ve come together to make some very difficult decisions. We need each other to be successful.”

Simmons, who plans to step down later this year, said Brown is “deeply concerned” about Providence’s finances and understands that its future is tied to that of the city.

“It’s easy to be myopic,” she said. “(But) it would be foolish of us not to understand the context in which we exist today.”

Under the deal, Brown will agree to contribute an additional $3.9 million this year, on top of the $4 million the university has contributed each year in voluntary payments and taxes on newer buildings and those not used for educational purposes.

In exchange, the city agreed to give up some streets adjacent to campus _ meaning they will become Brown’s _ and provide 250 parking permits to allow Brown employees to park for extended hours on certain streets near campus.

The deal, which must be approved by the Providence City Council, delighted Chafee and lawmakers who worked on the negotiations.

“In tough times everyone has to chip in a little bit. … Brown stepped up to the plate,” said House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence.

Taveras has been seeking $7.1 million more from tax-exempt institutions including Brown to shore up the city’s budget. The capital has been struggling to close a $22.5 million deficit in the final months of this fiscal year.

Health care provider Lifespan has voluntarily agreed to contribute $800,000 to the city annually for the next three years. Johnson & Wales University agreed in February to at least triple its annual voluntary payments to $958,000.

The first-term mayor is also seeking to reduce the city’s pension costs. On Monday, the City Council approved and Taveras signed a plan to save $16 million by freezing automatic cost-of-living adjustments for retired municipal workers.

Taveras had sought $40 million more from Brown over 10 years, but the city reduced the amount during negotiations. Taveras said the $31.5 million figure agreed to by Brown was higher than the city’s final request.

Simmons said university faculty and students may question why she agreed to commit an additional $31.5 million to the city in exchange for “modest” concessions. But she said it will be worth it if in 10 years the city is fiscally sound.

Brown’s future success as a research institution will depend on support from local and state officials, Simmons said. She said Brown’s willingness to help Providence shows the university is serious about the town-gown relationship.

“We have to have everyone’s support, not their resentment,” she said.

Chafee, himself a Brown University graduate, stepped in when negotiations with the university broke down, Taveras said.

The governor, an independent, said his message to both sides was simple: “Make peace.”

“Rhode Island and Providence share a history and future with Brown,” he said.

The deal will reduce pressure on Brown in the Statehouse, where lawmakers have suggested legislation to allow cities to charge tax-exempt institutions for police, fire protection and other city services.

Those bill probably aren’t going anywhere now, Fox said.

Rep. John Carnevale, a Providence Democrat who sponsored some of those bills, said the deal with Brown is “a good step,” but he thinks cities should have the authority to require contributions.

If Brown paid property taxes on all its property, it would pay the city $38 million annually, according to city calculations.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell by 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $5.05 for regular grade, it was reported Sunday. It was the first drop in nine weeks and came with a drop in oil prices amid deepening global inflation fears, industry analyst Trilby […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gun deaths in Oklahoma have increased since a “permitless carry” law allowing people over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training went into effect in 2019, according to a newspaper’s review of data. The Oklahoman analyzed state medical examiner data and found that Oklahoma has […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Bosnian Serb member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia Milorad Dodik watches military ex...
Associated Press

Bosnian Serb leader prays for Trump’s return, praises Putin

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The leader of Bosnia’s Serbs said Sunday he hoped former U.S. President Donald Trump would return to power and that the Serbs would “wait for appropriate global circumstances” to reach for their goal of seceding from Bosnia, which he called an “unsustainable state.” Milorad Dodik, who was a rare European official […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Wallace Reid purchases fuel for the vehicle he drives to make a living using ride-share apps...
Associated Press

Greedflation: Is price-gouging helping fuel high inflation?

Most economists say corporate price gouging is, at most, one of many causes of runaway inflation — and not the primary one.
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Tie in Alabama GOP race means winner to be selected by lot

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s Republican Party has declared a tie in the primary race for a state Senate seat and says the winner will be chosen by lot. A state party news release says the party’s Candidate Committee held a hearing Saturday and said the District 27 primary race between Auburn City Councilman Jay […]
14 hours ago
Abortion-rights activists protest outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, June 25, 2022....
Associated Press

SD gov: Bar abortion pills, but don’t punish women for them

WASHINGTON (AP) — South Dakota’s Republican governor pledged on Sunday to bar mail-order abortion pills but said women should not face prosecution for seeking them. In apparent defiance of legal guidance by the Justice Department after the Supreme Court last week stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, Kristi Noem indicated in national television interviews […]
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Brown U. to pay RI city $31.5M more to help budget