As the price of the renovation of the former McLellan Building continues to rise, Bowdoin has committed an additional $20,000 to its annual payment to Brunswick for 2014.
The Town of Brunswick intends to use the building as a new city hall once it is renovated. The town has seen the price of renovations on the building, originally estimated at around $100,000, grow to over $1 million.
A February 6 article in the Times Record reported that new costs had put the renovation $20,000 over its most recent projected budget.
Brunswick acquired the building—located at 85 Union Street—from Bowdoin in December 2011 in exchange for the Longfellow Elementary School building, which has since become the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance.
The College moved most of its offices from the building at the end of 2013. The Office of Communications and Interactive Media Group moved to the third floor, where they will stay for the next ten years as part of an agreement with the town.
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley said that the town requested the additional money this year to go towards a power generator in the building.
“The generator’s going to cost $80,000, and we thought it was good because the communications office is on the third floor, and in the event of a power outage or a campus emergency it would be good to have backup power farther away from campus,” she said.
Since 2000, the College has made yearly payments on the building to the town instead of a standard property tax.
“When we built McLellan as a way to support the Town of Brunswick, we did agree to pay some taxes on the building even though legally we weren’t required to,” said Longley, adding that the College had payed $555,916 in payments in lieu of taxes since it acquired the building in 2000.
Generally, the College is exempt as a nonprofit from paying property taxes. However, Longley said there are certain types of property, like vacant property or faculty housing, where it does pay taxes. According to an economic impact report released by the College last year, it paid $253,967 in property taxes in the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year. Bowdoin also makes voluntary contributions to Brunswick and Harpswell, where the Coastal Studies Center is located.
Longley said these grants are intended to offset the cost of fire and police responses that are related to the College.
According to the College’s 2011 Tax Form 990—the most recent available—Brunswick received $123,000, while Harpswell received $8,800 in unrestricted contributions from the College. United Way of Mid Coast Maine, Pine Grove Cemetery, and Coastal Transportation received $15,000, $9,700, and $10,000, respectively. The Brunswick Downtown Association received $10,000.