University increases its voluntary annual contribution to Princeton Borough

Dec. 4, 2002, 10:01 a.m.

Princeton University will quadruple its voluntary annual contribution to Princeton Borough over the next four years under an agreement approved by Borough Council on Tuesday night, Dec. 3.

Under the agreement, the University's contribution will be $110,282 in 2002; will almost double to $200,000 in 2003; and then will increase to $300,000 in 2004, $350,000 in 2005, and $400,000 in 2006. If no new agreement is negotiated at that point, the University donation in subsequent years will increase at the same rate as the municipal tax rate.

"The University has a major stake in the health and vitality of the community and over the years has contributed to the Borough in many ways," said President Shirley M. Tilghman. "This substantial increase in our annual voluntary contribution, at a time when resources generally are constrained, reflects the depth of the University's ongoing commitment to the economic well-being of the Borough and the quality of life for its citizens."

The University also will continue its annual contribution to the Borough on behalf of McCarter Theatre. This contribution is equivalent to the municipal portion of the property taxes that would be paid if the building were on the tax rolls. For 2002, the amount will be $59,000, but it will go up with increases in the municipal tax rate and in the assessed valuation of the facility, which is currently being expanded.

These voluntary donations are in addition to the University's annual property tax payments to the Borough, which last year exceeded $1.9 million; fees for various purposes, including sewer charges, building permits, and affordable housing payments, which last year totaled more than $2.5 million; one-time special project contributions, such as those provided recently to the public library, the school board and the first aid and rescue squad; and a broad range of indirect contributions through public use of its facilities, infrastructure and cultural resources.

The University has been making annual financial contributions to the Borough since 1973, and has been making contributions on behalf of McCarter since 1988, when the facility was removed from the tax rolls. In 1995, the University agreed to increase its annual contribution from $40,000 (which it had been for seven years) to $60,000 and then to increase it by $10,000 per year until it reached $100,000. At that point the contribution would increase at the same pace as the municipal tax rate. This new agreement was developed by a special "Town and Gown Committee" in which the University was represented principally by Director of Community and State Affairs Pam Hersh and Vice President for Public Affairs Robert Durkee.

In the 18th century, the town of Princeton contributed to the University, then known as the College of New Jersey, instead of vice versa. The college in 1756 settled in Princeton, instead of New Brunswick, because the people of Princeton gave a cash incentive to the college for relocating to Princeton from Newark. They offered the college a money grant of 1,000 pounds, 10 acres of campus lands, and 200 woodland acres for fuel.

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601