SLU officials touting property taxes paid in Canton despite exemption
Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 5:34 pm

CANTON -- St. Lawrence University officials are highlighting the fact the institution is the largest property taxpayer in the village and one of the largest taxpayers in the town and school district, even though it is a tax-exempt not-for-profit institution.

And aside from taxes, the university generates an estimated $276 million a year in local economic activity, according to estimates cited in the university’s November newsletter.

In 2016, the university paid a total of $325,551 to all of the taxing jurisdictions (Village of Canton, Town of Canton, St. Lawrence County, and Canton Central School District), which includes $73,107 in property taxes to the Village of Canton, according to the newsletter.

While it is true that SLU does not pay taxes on its academic buildings, residence halls or sports facilities, it does pay true taxes (rather than PILOTs, or payments in lieu of taxes) on its properties that are not central to its academic mission. These add up to more than three dozen distinct property parcels, which include the Best Western University Inn, part of the university’s golf course, and off-campus faculty housing.

The university also paid $462,289.18 in water and sewer bills last year.

But payment of taxes and utilities is only part of how the university contributes to the local economy.

Perhaps the greatest contribution is in its payroll – last year, more than $66.5 million to its more than 800 employees (not including students), the newsletter said.

That provides a direct injection into to the economy from employees who are citizens and consumers in the community.

And the student body and thousands of annual visitors to campus, as well as investment in campus facilities, also provide economic impacts.

According to the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, with assistance from the Center for Governmental Research, its updated assessment indicates that St. Lawrence University provides an economic impact of more than $276 million dollars per year to the local economy.