Brown U. to pay RI city $31.5M more to help budget

Associated Press Modified: May 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm •  Published: May 1, 2012
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The first-term mayor is also seeking to reduce the city's pension costs. On Monday, the City Council approved and Taveras signed a plan to save $16 million by freezing automatic cost-of-living adjustments for retired municipal workers.

Taveras had sought $40 million more from Brown over 10 years, but the city reduced the amount during negotiations. Taveras said the $31.5 million figure agreed to by Brown was higher than the city's final request.

Simmons said university faculty and students may question why she agreed to commit an additional $31.5 million to the city in exchange for "modest" concessions. But she said it will be worth it if in 10 years the city is fiscally sound.

Brown's future success as a research institution will depend on support from local and state officials, Simmons said. She said Brown's willingness to help Providence shows the university is serious about the town-gown relationship.

"We have to have everyone's support, not their resentment," she said.

Chafee, himself a Brown University graduate, stepped in when negotiations with the university broke down, Taveras said.

The governor, an independent, said his message to both sides was simple: "Make peace."

"Rhode Island and Providence share a history and future with Brown," he said.

The deal will reduce pressure on Brown in the Statehouse, where lawmakers have suggested legislation to allow cities to charge tax-exempt institutions for police, fire protection and other city services.

Those bill probably aren't going anywhere now, Fox said.

Rep. John Carnevale, a Providence Democrat who sponsored some of those bills, said the deal with Brown is "a good step," but he thinks cities should have the authority to require contributions.

If Brown paid property taxes on all its property, it would pay the city $38 million annually, according to city calculations.