Town of Hadley and UMass Amherst Approve New Cooperation Agreement

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts and the Town of Hadley have approved a new agreement that will last from today to July 31, 2002.

The agreement was jointly announced by Hadley Select Board Chair Alan Jacque and University Chancellor David K. Scott. Both Scott and Jacque noted that the agreement was reached amicably except for a few details about finances that had to be clarified. They noted that this is an exciting time for development and other economic initiatives in the Valley, and that it behooves both the Town and the University to work together on projects of mutual interest. Items covered in the agreement include:

* Expanded communication between Town and University officials.

* Commitment by both to work with legislators to pass a fully funded Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. Under the PILOT program, the state makes payments to municipalities to compensate for the exemptions from local property taxes that state institutions receive, a program that has not been fully funded for years.

* Agreements to continue to work together on traffic mitigation, especially regarding the proposed Coolidge Bridge repairs, and affordable housing issues.

* An agreement by the University to work with the Town in developing and funding a student internship.

* Payment as follows: UMass will give Hadley $39,000 per year (the same amount as in the past three years) for each of the three years of the agreement. In addition, UMass will absorb the cost of an intern up to but not exceeding $4,500. Because it is too late in the current academic year to bring an intern on board, for the current year UMass will pay the $4,500 in cash. And, in the third year of the agreement, UMass will donate approximately $4,000 to Hadley for a defibrillator unit for the police department.

Scott said: "The new agreement builds upon the foundation set three years ago for an expanded relationship between the Town and the University. Both parties recognize that the actions of one impact the other. In this agreement we have pledged to address issues of mutual concern as well as documenting the current contributions each provides."

He added: "As was the case in 1996, the agreement calls for both sides to work toward the continuation of legislative approval for full funding of the PILOT program as the best mechanism for addressing the presence of non-profit institutions in communities." He also said: "I am grateful to the Hadley Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator Robin Crosbie for their cooperation in negotiating this second agreement and look forward to a productive collaboration."

Selectman Jacque concurred, saying: "I am very pleased with this agreement. The continued cooperation between the University and the Town benefits our community, the University, and the region."