April 7, 2010; St. Louis Today | This story is about one of many nonprofit tax and fee proposals in play around the country right now. With approximately $3 billion worth of property owned by nonprofits, Saint Louis is considering how they might ask universities and other large nonprofits to “pitch in” to the city coffers at a higher rate. While officials seem to not be pursuing any one proposal, Saint Louis does not have a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program and this is one option being considered among “hundreds.”
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This article estimates the amount of money “lost” in property taxes each year to be $15 million—of which $9 million would go to schools. Stephen Conway, an Alderman, “wants to explore payment and service options with nonprofits, starting with the largest and excluding those with revenue of less than $3 million a year and churches.” Conway’s idea is for nonprofit fees to go directly to specific items or services for instance, hospitals could cover fire trucks or universities could pay for lighting on nearby streets. He said, “The benefit is if we don’t have to do something, it is the same as paying money.”—Ruth McCambridge