Ithaca mayor wants Cornell to contribute more for city services

ITHACA N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick is a proud alumnus of Cornell University, but he hasn't seen eye-to-eye with the school when it comes to the amount of money it contributes to vital services within the city. 

Since Cornell is a non-profit institution, it's not required to pay most taxes. But it's common for colleges to make a "voluntary contribution" to their cities to help pay for things like police and fire staffing as well as road maintenance. 

"As much as it pains me to say, I would rather have Harvard here or Princeton here," Myrick said. "If we did, the taxes would be lower. The rents would be lower. The streets would better paved."

Cornell does contribute a little over a million dollars to the city of Ithaca, according to Myrick. That amount, however, is roughly five million dollars less than the University's peer institutions. 

"Cornell has a seven billion dollar endowment," Myrick said. "And then tell us they cannot afford to help lower taxes and pave streets in Ithaca. I would say they are not meeting their obligation."

Myrick addressed his concern about the contributions Cornell makes at his 2017 State of the City address. He hopes the University's new incoming administration will be more willing to work with the city than prior ones have. 

"We're only going to be successful if Cornell is successful," Myrick said. "But Cornell is only going to be successful if Ithaca is a place people want to live in. And can afford to live in," he added. 
NewsChannel did reach out to Cornell and the University says they have no comment at this time.


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