New Municipal Services Agreement for College and City
KEENE, N.H. 11/19/08 - The University System of New Hampshire (USNH) board of trustees has authorized Keene State College (KSC) to enter into a revised Municipal Services Agreement with the City of Keene. The new agreement proposes phased payments to the city for fire protection services, increasing from $50,000 in 2009 to $380,000 in 2012. It also proposes a way to recover city police and College costs from students found guilty of violating state laws. This is a four-year agreement, terminating in June 2012.
"The College and the city have a history of discussing how we mutually support each other's goals," said KSC President Helen Giles-Gee. "This agreement provides a commitment by the College to assist the city as it determines how it will sustain the fire protection services required by the greater Keene community."
The revised Municipal Services Agreement replaces one (first approved in 1995) that addressed the burden on the city for increased police patrols near the campus on Thursday through Sunday evenings. An update in 2005 responded to the burden associated with the disturbances on city streets after baseball postseason competition.
The College is also studying ways to recover costs related to investigating students who have committed violations. Keene State's Student Affairs Division has created a unique Referred Learning Program, which charges a fee to recover direct expenses. District court judges have referred KSC students to this program.
"For the College to recognize the city's needs in this challenging economic time illustrates how the success of each depends upon the strength of the other," said Mayor Dale Pregent.
State law (RSA 187-A:25 and 72:23) exempts the College from property taxes, and USNH board of trustees policy recognizes that the presence of a USNH institution in a community brings many benefits, including financial benefits. These policies also recognize that when a particular service provided to a campus is disproportionate to service provided to the rest of the community, the board may authorize compensation for a municipal service.
Last fall, Keene State College President Helen Giles-Gee and Keene's Mayor Dale Pregent formed a task force to identify ways the city and College could address concerns about increasing demands on city fire and police services. This group included KSC President Helen Giles-Gee, Keene Mayor Dale Pregent, City Manager John MacLean, Chairperson of the City Finance and Operations Committee Cynthia Georgina, and KSC Vice President for Finance and Planning Jay Kahn.