Princeton (NJ) Council Votes to Accept University Payments for Town Services

The Princeton Council passed a resolution 5-0 to accept Princeton University’s voluntary contribution plan to pay the town $21.7 million over seven years to help cover the cost of local government and other services.

Mayor Liz Lempert and Councilwoman Heather Howard recused themselves from the vote, due to their ties to the university.

The first payment, $2.75 million, arrives this year and is up $275,000 from the school’s voluntary payment last year.

The annual contributions will increase by 4 percent annually, peaking at $3.48 million in 2020, according to terms of the deal.

The university will also make five additional payments for municipal projects that serve the university’s interests as well as the town’s, such as $500,000 for construction of a new Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad facility and $500,000 toward the purchase of fire-fighting apparatus, among others.

Some have pointed to the university’s approximately $18 billion endowment and argue the tax-exempt school should contribute more, even though it leaves certain properties on the tax rolls, such as non-dormitory graduate student housing, that could qualify for exemption from property taxes under state law.

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