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Potsdam intern studies charging nonprofits for services

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POTSDAM — Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis has tasked a student intern with studying the history and legal issues that prevent the village from charging nonprofits a fee for their use of village services.

“Clarkson doesn’t pay anything to the police force, but they consume those services,” Mr. Yurgartis said. The same is true of Canton-Potsdam Hospital and SUNY Potsdam.

“It would be nice to recoup some of those costs,” he said.

New York state prohibits governments from charging nonprofits a fee for services, although some other states allow it, Mr. Yurgartis said.

Potsdam’s large not-for-profit entities are the source of frequent debate and discussion over the village’s bottom line. About 70 percent of assessed village property value is non-taxable, according to Mr. Yurgartis.

He hopes the study will help him better understand the issue and provide guidance for future action.

It will examine the history of charging nonprofits for services, as well as how similar laws function in other states.

SUNY Potsdam politics major Emily Dickinson is conducting the study, which should be complete and presented to the village board by April.

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