Friday, February 1, 2013

PILOT Fees and Museums continued...

You've heard me write three on the value of sustainability practices in defending against PILOT fees (payment in lieu of taxes) threatened by municipalities.  Here is some great writing by Dan Yaeger of NEMA - the New England Museum Association.

His piece adds much-needed balance to my green-only comments. Dan's bigger-picture comment on sustainability can help balance your private and public discussions about PILOT fees and your institution's response. He writes that "If we construe the relationship between museums and their communities as merely a dollars and cents proposition, we are all impoverished."

It has made me think that my argument of calculating a monetary value of sustainability practices is narrow-minded. My thought was that by putting a costs-saved price on your reduced demands on your municipality by documenting reductions in waste removal, water consumption and municipal power, you can demonstrate a value, a credit, against the PILOTs. But reading Dan's piece I realize that I've just being drawn into their single-bottom-line approach.

Sustainability is about the Quadruple Bottom Line. If museums could just get a bit better at describing - in words, pictures and numbers, their value to People, Planet, and Profit through their Programs for our cities, then we won't have to worry so much about dreaded PILOTs. At least sustainability approaches can contribute to all four of those bottom lines.

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