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City Seeks PILOT Alternatives; Cambridge’s Voting System

City Still Seeking PILOT Alternatives

When the city council passed a Sept. 12 policy order proposing a one percent tax on interest exceeding $1 million earned from university endowments, it received unanimous support in the council, said Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves. Now, however, Councillor Brian Murphy said the order is “highly unlikely to pass the Massachusetts legislature.”

Councillor Anthony Galluccio also said the “issue is very unlikely to be revisited.” The policy order was introduced by Councillor Timothy J. Toomey Jr., who did not respond to requests for information.

All the councillors except Denise Simmons and Toomey, who both did not respond to requests for comment, said that a formula different from the current Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement would be highly beneficial to the universities and Cambridge. Mayor Michael A. Sullivan said that while the current PILOT agreement may be the best possible, the city should keep exploring options.

Such options include Galluccio’s suggestion of a specific formula tied to the cost of city services. “PILOT is not tied to anything specific, the number doesn’t represent anything,” he said.

Cambridge’s Voting System

Cambridge elections are run by the Proportional Representation method. The method asks voters to rank the candidates, with number one being their preferred candidate. Any candidate who receives a quota of votes as first choice is immediately elected, and the number one votes in excess of the quota will go to the number two choice marked on those ballots. Then, any candidate with fewer than 50 number one votes is eliminated, and the ballots are given to the next preference. After this, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated, and his or her ballots also go to the next preferences. Candidates reaching quota are elected during these redistributions. —Marie Y. Thibault