Portland, Maine, is the latest northeastern city looking to nonprofit groups to buttress its budget, with legislators directing municipal staffers to develop a plan for soliciting payments in lieu of property taxes, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Under the order Thursday from the City Council’s Finance Committee, officials will draft a proposal to contact the owners of nearly 1,300 tax-exempt Portland properties. The proposal will go to the full council for approval before any outreach is launched.
Council members and the city’s finance chief said any Portland program to ratchet up charities’ payments in lieu of taxes would be modeled on Boston’s successful campaign to tap groups that receive public services but do not pay property levies.
Fourteen Portland nonprofit groups made a collective $623,000 in voluntary payments to the city in the 2010-11 fiscal year, with more than half from one organization: Ecomaine, a waste-management entity run by 21 Maine municipalities.