Letter to the Editor

PILOT Revaluation a Great Step in the Right Direction

Dear Editor,

In August, as the Chair of the Boston’s City Council PILOT Reform Committee, I sent a letter alongside many of my Council colleagues asking Mayor Marty Walsh to update the valuations for the real estate held by PILOT-paying nonprofits in the City of Boston. The original valuations that form the basis for the City’s Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) program were done in 2009, more than a decade ago. I am very grateful that Boston’s Assessing Department has now committed to a full data review and revaluation in 2021

As the Councilor for District 8, which includes Mission Hill, Fenway, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the West End, I’m proud to have so many important and internationally-renowned non-profit institutions in my district. Given the deep racial and economic inequities of our city, I’m also proud to have so many of these non-profit institutions participate in our successful PILOT program, and I look forward to continuing to deepen that civic partnership. As we have seen throughout the COVID-19 crisis, here in Boston we are all bound up together.

I’m thankful to the coalition of community partners who form the PILOT Action Group for their ongoing multiyear advocacy to make the PILOT program as robust a mechanism as possible for partnership between our large non-profit institutions and the urban neighborhoods in which they are embedded. I know that excellent work will continue. I want to express my thanks also to Mayor Walsh for making this commitment to 2021 revaluation, to my colleagues Councilors Annissa Essabi George, Lydia Edwards, and Michael Flaherty for filing legislation back in January on the need for this revaluation, and to Council President Janey for emphasizing PILOT as an equity issue from the start of her term and in her June budget letter on a Black and Brown Agenda for Boston.

While there is more to do to build on the PILOT’s program success in pursuit of a more equitable Boston, this commitment to revaluation in 2021 is a great step in regard to a key program that supports so many essential city services.

Councilor Kenzie Bok

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