Rhode Island politicians are increasingly looking to non-profit institutions to finance local government. The latest tug-of-war between town and gown is in Smithfield, where the town thinks Bryant University is not paying its fair share. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says its time for cooperation, not confrontation.
Bryant University President Ronald Machtley says he is "disappointed" that Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed a bill allowing Smithfield to charge the school for emergency services. Here's the full text of Machtley's official statement:
We are very disappointed that Governor Chafee did not veto the legislation previously approved by the Rhode Island General Assembly (S 0025 and H 5083).
Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed into law legislation that will require Bryant University and Smithfield town officials to negotiate reimbursement for the university’s use of town police, fire and rescue services.
The university and its president, former U.S. Rep. Ron Machtley, have argued strenuously against the legislation, saying Bryant already contributes to the town and generates $17 in local economic activity. But town officials and Smithfield lawmakers say it is isn’t fair for Bryant to charge town taxpayers for services used by the university and its students.
The General Assembly has passed legislation requiring Bryant University to make payments to the town of Smithfield. The university is calling the bill “heavy handed.”
Unless Smithfield and Bryant can come to an agreement, the legislation allows the town to bill the university for municipal services it uses. The non-profit university sits on some 420 acres of land that state Senator Stephen Archambault said would generate $2 million in yearly taxes.
Private colleges in Rhode Island have some of the highest prices in the country, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Education.
Bryant University, Providence College, Roger Williams University and the Rhode Island School of Design also ranked in the top 5 percent, when tuition prices were adjusted to reflect the average cost for students after grants and scholarships.
RISD ranked near the top of that list with a price tag of nearly $35,000. The national average was just $19,300.
Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.
This week Dave and Mark talk with Bill McCourt, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association. They probe into a comprehensive survey of Rhode Island manufacturers on what manufacturers are seeking, the state of modern manufacturing, and what will be done with the findings.
Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday it looks at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.
This week Dave and Mark talk with Kati Machtley, director of the Women’s Summit at Bryant University about the changing themes in leadership and what the speakers of this year’s summit bring to the table.
When to Listen
You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.