Photo by Celeste Katz Marston

Concord to reinvigorate PILOT program

July 8, 2024

By Betsy Levinson —

The Town Manager’s office will jump-start the development of a payment in lieu of taxes policy with help from the Select Board and Finance Committee.

A municipality can request payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, from a local non-profit organization that owns tax-exempt property. 

It’s been attempted in Concord before — in 2003 and then five years later, according to Finance Committee member Peggy Briggs, who was a Select Board member at the time.

Concord provides public education to children of residential faculty at the town’s four private schools. The town also provides public safety and public works services to non-profit institutions.

Chief Financial Officer Anthony Ansaldi said the cost of providing those services often falls on taxpayers “in an era of tight budgets.”

Initially, Ansaldi called for gathering data on the number of students educated in Concord schools, as well as the number of public safety and public works calls that come in from non-profit organizations.

“We need a good foundation,” he told the Select Board and FinCom at a joint meeting Monday night.

“We have to negotiate with the non-profits to maintain the critical services we provide,” Ansaldi said.

Select Board Clerk Mark Howell noted the broad range of non-profit institutions and suggested “revisiting conversions” the town has had with its many non-profits. He said the transactions aren’t always just a money exchange; in the past, for example, some non-profits have donated public safety equipment to the town.

Chair Mary Hartman, who volunteered to be the Select Board representative to work with Ansaldi, called the process of writing a policy “challenging” since “one size doesn’t fit all.”

“It’s a multi-year process,” said Select Board member Terri Ackerman, noting that former Town Manager Chris Whelan worked on a PILOT policy for more than a decade.

Ansaldi will work with Hartman and FinCom member Lois Wasoff on gathering data towards creating a policy.

“We need to get this going,” Hartman said.