SMITHFIELD – Bryant University and the town approved a five-year agreement at a town council meeting Tuesday night for the university to reimburse Smithfield for its emergency services.
The agreement comes nearly a year after state lawmakers passed a bill requiring the school to negotiate a pact to help cover the annual cost of its use of town public-safety services by March 2014 or be forced to pay those bills.
The deal passed Tuesday is a revision of the town’s most recent proposal, Town Solicitor Edmund L. Alves Jr. said in a brief letter accompanying the document provided to Providence Business News on Wednesday.
The agreement calls for quarterly payments of $25,000 starting June 1, and payment of any excess costs as calculated by the two parties. If actual costs come in under $25,000, the overcharge would be used to reduce the subsequent payment. Costs are estimated at $195 for each town police run to Bryant, and $757 for each fire department or rescue run to the university, the agreement states.
After March 1, 2015, actual costs will increase by a range of 1 percent to 5 percent, based on the Boston Regional Consumer Price Index for the year prior, the agreement states.
“I don’t think either side was satisfied with the agreement, it’s just the best we can do at this time,” said Town Council President Al LaGreca Jr. in a phone interview. “It does reimburse us for emergency services, and I do think Bryant has an issue with being the only nonprofit [in Rhode Island] being forced to pay for police and fire. The feeling is, ‘Let’s do this for five years and sit down and reevaluate it.’”
Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley said in an emailed statement that the university is glad to be moving forward with the agreement.