|Lack of State Assistance for Communities that Host SUNY Residential Institutions|
The Mandate: Currently, SUNY institutions are prohibited from entering into agreements with the communities in which the SUNY colleges are located to help pay for the extraordinary municipal costs associated with hosting such institutions. While there are clearly benefits for local governments that “host” SUNY institutions, these same local governments are also faced with additional fiscal, public safety and quality of life issues as a result of being a “college community.”
The Cost: College communities experience a major increase in the population as a result of the influx of students who need and utilize the same municipal services that property owners use. In addition, the number of rental properties in these communities is significantly higher and the need for police and fire services is increased. Each of these factors puts increasing pressure on the expenditure side of the host municipality’s budget. There are similar pressures placed on the revenue side of the budget, largely due to the fact that the amount of tax-exempt property in “college communities” often exceeds that of other cities and villages because all of the properties affiliated with the colleges are tax exempt. This, in conjunction with the property tax cap, makes it increasingly difficult for college communities to finance the essential municipal services their residents -- and students -- need and expect.
The Solution: Provide a mechanism where local governments that have four-year SUNY residential institutions within their borders, can receive additional State funds to help offset the extraordinary expenses that result from being a host community. A bill has been introduced (A. 6416 - Lifton / S. 4643 – Seward) that would provide municipalities that have four-year SUNY residential institutions within their boundaries, with a critical source of additional revenue that would help to promote the safety of our students while improving the quality of life in these communities.