City Alders Approve New Yale Contribution Plan, Express Apprehension for Future

Although the Board of Alders voted unanimously in favor of the new agreement between Yale and the city, some reservations shared about the future of the relationship between the city dresses.

Staff reporter

Karen Lin, photo editor

The Board of Alders voted late Monday to grant final approval to a historic new agreement between Yale and New Haven, which will increase the University’s voluntary contribution by $52 million over the next six years.

The change comes after years of activism by local unions and community organizations, which demanded that Yale contribute more to its hometown. Along with the increased contribution, the deal includes provisions for a new Yale-funded Inclusive Growth Center, the conversion of part of the High Street into a pedestrian walkway, and a commitment by Yale to offset all revenue of the city lost on buildings withdrawn from the tax roll.

The new six-year agreement between Yale and the New Haven city government was first announced at a press conference last November. Just three weeks after a favorable vote by the finance committee, the entire alders board has now unanimously approved the deal. Five alders spoke in favor of the deal at the meeting, although almost all said it was just a first step – and an uphill battle.

“The city can use the money, so I’m happy for the money and grateful to the people who made this possible,” said Anna Festa, a Ward 10 alder. rolling and dealing like that, and that at the end of the day, we always had to give something up… I feel like our hands are tied when it comes to these type of negotiations. take it or leave it. “

In his address to the board, Festa raised concerns about “gaps” and unanswered questions in the deal as it currently stands. She shared that she was troubled by a lack of clarity regarding what will happen after the fixed term of the agreement ends, “because we still need the money after six years.”

Festa warned against returning Yale’s voluntary contribution to what it called the “pins” currently given to the city each year – $13 million out of a $42.3 billion endowment. That figure increases by $10 million for the first five years and just $2 million for the sixth, and the compensation policy ends after six years, both of which concern Festa.

In response to complaints about Yale’s voluntary contribution, University officials pointed out that Yale’s voluntary payments were already greater than those of its peer institutions prior to this new ideal.

Other alders spoke of the importance of continued activism and collaboration to ensure that Yale continues to contribute to the city beyond the six-year scope of the pledge.

“[This new deal]in my opinion, is a down payment,” said Sarah Miller, an alder from Ward 14. “We need more money from the University to keep the city running, and I am committed to working with the community to keep pushing until we get what we need.”

Jeanette Morrison, an alder from Ward 22, whose neighborhood includes both Yale properties and permanent Dixwell residents, shared that, despite its flaws, this deal is central to her purpose as city leader of “bridge the gap between this city and the university”.

“I am a 54-year-old, longtime resident, and there has always been the unspoken rule that Yale individuals and townspeople should not get involved with each other,” he said. Morrison said. “So to see something like this happen, to see that the University sees the importance of the city, sees the importance of these residents…To have this money given to the city to keep our city growing is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Ward 25 alderman Adam Marchand updated the committee on community feedback on the March 14 finance committee meeting on the new agreement. Marchand said the public wants clear communication from the city and the University to ensure the “proper implementation” of the four components of the agreement.

Overall, Marchand said, residents sought endorsement of the pledge, which they viewed as “hard-earned progress” by community activists. However, at the heart of the conversation was the “considerable need for additional future support and investment in the community by New Haven’s most important institutional partner”.

“As Yale’s endowment has reached unimaginable levels — over $40 billion right now — our city’s youth are in crisis,” New Haven Rising organizer Marika Phillips said in her speech to the committee last month. “We’re going to need Yale to raise their voluntary salary a lot more.”

Regarding the proposed Center for Inclusive Growth, Festa noted that the finance committee has yet to receive a “draft” of the plans. She stressed that Alder Council members and other city leaders should be included in the decision-making process for the new center.

Kerwin Charles, dean of the School of Management, will chair the new center, which Yale will establish with an additional funding base of $5 million. University President Peter Salovey said in November that the center’s programming will be designed to guide “the issues and challenges of urban centers like the city of New Haven in the present day,” encouraging collaboration between Yale students and faculty and members of the New Haven community.

Another crucial part of the deal is the conversion of the block of High Street between Elm and Chapel Streets, which passes through Old Campus, into a pedestrian walkway. These renovations will be funded by Yale, but the street will remain under city ownership as a public space.

Festa reminded the council that the city would lose revenue from 30 metered parking spaces as a result of this conversion, arguing that it would also increase the difficulty of finding parking spaces downtown.

Festa clarified that despite her concerns, she supported approving the plan immediately.
Yale’s tax-exempt properties in New Haven were recently valued at $4.2 billion.

Sylvan Lebrun

Report by Sylvan Lebrun on the Town Hall. She previously covered nonprofits and social services in the New Haven area. She is a sophomore at Pauli Murray College majoring in English.

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