The property tax exemptions on the historic Greek row at the University of Vermont are set to expire January 1, 2017. If that happens, the fraternities and sororities will be unable to afford their houses. Ten Greek organizations would be forced to close their doors for good.
From Seven Days:
Unless the legislature grants them a reprieve, the houses will owe a combined $350,567 annually in taxes. About a third would go to the City of Burlington, and the rest to the state education fund.
The 700 brothers and sisters at UVM say that would force them to sell the historic properties, which house about 200 of them and are where they all go for meetings and social events. They are rallying, petitioning and lobbying the legislature to pass a proposed bill that would maintain the tax break in an effort to “save Greek life.”
The City of Burlington provides tax exemptions for 38 percent of its organizational buildings, as long as the organization provides a “public good.” Let’s see here. According to this video, if you multiply the combined service hours of UVM Greeks by Vermont’s minimum wage, then they’ve saved the city over $215,000. If that doesn’t count as “public good,” then fuck me sideways and send me straight to hell because I haven’t done a single decent thing in my life.
Greeks say they are being unfairly targeted because the city only hears about them if they do something wrong.
Fiji president Ian Campbell maintained that the Animal House image is unfair and dated. At his fraternity, anti-hazing and anti-substance-abuse education is part of the programming, he said. “One of the hardest feats we have right now is overcoming those stereotypes,” said Campbell, a 21-year-old senior from Media, Pa.
The over $350,000 they would rake in annually from the Greek properties would come at a convenient time for the city. They are currently undergoing pricey infrastructure renovations, building parks and bike paths and shit.
The City of Burlington has had a long and dubious history of being total dicks about property taxes. They had a mayor back in 1987 who slammed the MOTHERFUCKING HOSPITAL with a $2.9 million property tax, saying that they did not meet the “public good” criteria because they paid doctors too much. The hospital sued them and won, but the mayor kept at it, and now the hospital has to pay $446,000 per year in property taxes. Anyone care to guess the name of that mayor?
[via Seven Days]
Image via YouTube