Princeton University has, for many years, voluntarily paid taxes on properties that were eligible for exemption under state law. But the Ivy League school recently claimed and was granted tax exemptions for some of those properties by the municipality.
The 2022 total assessed value of the properties that were removed is $195,847,700, according to a university spokesman.
Properties removed from the tax rolls were primarily graduate student housing, the spokesman for the university said in an email to Planet Princeton.
School taxes paid in 2022 for the properties that were approved for an exemption this year totaled $2,161,611, according to a university spokesman. The university also gave the local school district $250,000 for tents last year, making the university’s total financial support for the district last year $2,411,611.
The university announced Tuesday that it will now give the local school district $2,250,000 each year for the next five years as a PILOT (which they prefer to call a voluntary payment). The university will give the district an additional $500,000 for its new strategic plan. The university’s total contribution this year will then be $2,750,000, or $338,389 more than in 2022.
Town officials declined when asked on Tuesday afternoon to provide a list of university properties that were taken off the tax rolls for 2023 or the amount of the total assessed value of the properties when asked by Planet Princeton. Tax assessor Neal Snyder said Planet Princeton would have to file a public records request for the information.
Mercer County’s abstract of ratables for 2022 provides information on the total tax rate for Princeton residents for 2022, including school, municipal, county, and open space taxes. With this information, one can estimate what the university paid in taxes in 2022 for these properties that are now off the tax rolls. The total tax rate for Princeton properties for all property taxes combined was $2.432 per $100 of assessed property value, according to the abstract of ratables.
Based on that figure, the university properties that have been removed from the tax rolls generated about $4.76 million total in property taxes in 2022, based on the county data. Based on the county abstract data, the district would have received $2.34 million in tax revenue from the university last year. According to the university, the figure paid for school taxes for the properties that have been taken off the tax rolls was $2.16 million.
The school tax rate was $1.198 per $100 of assessed value in 2022. The municipal rate was 46.6 cents. The county rate was 67.9 cents. The county open space tax rate was 3.1 cents and the municipal open space tax was 1.7 cents. The municipal library tax was 4.1 cents per $100 of assessed value in 2022.
Taxes paid to the county for the properties that have been taken off the tax rolls were about $1.39 million, including the county open space tax, based on the county abstract figures. The taxes paid to the municipality for the properties that have been removed from the tax rolls, including the library and municipal open space tax, were just over a million, according to the tax rates listed in the abstract.
In 2022, the university paid the municipality a $3.9 million PILOT, as well as $11.6 million in property taxes and sewer fees.
University officials have also been negotiating a new PLIOT agreement with the municipality for this year. The most recent PILOT agreement expired at the end of 2022. The new agreement with the municipality has not been announced yet. According to the university announcement about the deal with the school district, Princeton University intends to give the town more money than the amount of property taxes the school previously paid for properties that were recently granted a tax exemption.
The university does not have a PILOT agreement with the county and won’t have to pay county taxes on the properties that were removed from the rolls.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022, the value of Princeton’s endowment stood at $35.8 billion.