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Town Seeking Payment in Lieu of Taxes From St. Andrew's School

The Barrington Town Council votes unanimously to direct the town manager to try to negotiate a deal with the private school for an annual PILOT.

St. Andrew' School. Credit: St. Andrew's
St. Andrew' School. Credit: St. Andrew's

Barrington is seeking a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) from the private St. Andrew’s School on Federal Road. 

The Town Council voted unanimously Monday night, Jan. 6, to direct the town manager to start talks with school officials on coming up with an equitable PILOT that reflects services provided to the school by the town.

St. Andrew’s is exempt from all property taxes under a charter granted to it by the state decades ago. Barrington cannot legally tax the school, said Town Solicitor Mike Ursillo.

“I don’t think the intention of the state was to burden the town,” said Town Councilor Bill DeWitt. “So how do we put together something that makes sense?”

The town definitely provides police and fire services to St. Andrew’s, according to Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr. And faculty and staff members who choose to enroll their children in Barrington schools would be getting a free education for them, he said.

DeAngelis said he anticipates contacting officials at St. Andrew’s over the next week or so to get the talks started. 

A private PILOT agreement would be a first in Barrington. The town gets an approximate $13,000 PILOT from the state for the Tillinghast Farm campus of the Rhode Island School of Design, said Tax Assessor Mike Minardi. But that money does not come from the college.

“It comes out of a bucket of money from the state for colleges and universities,” said Minardi. “We’re supposed to get 27 percent of the town’s tax rate. It typically is about 21 percent.” 

“We have no deal with an exempt property owner,” said Minardi, who calculated that St. Andrew’s owns approximately 72 acres of land and buildings worth about $22.75 million.

That would yield about $414,000 for Barrington if the school could be taxed, he said in a memo to the Town Council.

DeWitt, who expects to be part of the conversation with St. Andrew's officials along with Town Council President June Speakman, said: “We’re asking for their cooperation.”

Meg Jones January 09, 2014 at 02:19 AM
I feel that St. Andrews gives back to the community in many ways. The fact that the town would try to overturn an exemption from all property taxes under a charter granted to the school by the state decades ago is a misuse of town government. Barrington cannot legally tax the school and should look elsewhere for money. Also noted that town council voted unanimously to support further investigation of a village center geared to the new shops behind DD at a projected cost of 1.7 million dollars? Is this really the responsibility of the town? What is the projected return on investment? Isn't it the responsibility of the private business owners to promote their business? Should the town pay for a study? Should the town pay for signage to promote shopping off the main road? Our tax dollars should provide and maintain the roads to allow shoppers to reach their destinations. The business owners are responsible to market their business and attract customers to their shops. Is St. Andrews the answer to the price tag for the new "Village Center" in Barrington.

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