Indiana Wesleyan University feels appreciated by the Marion community. We truly do.
Occasionally, someone reminds us that not everyone in Marion likes IWU. But hardly a day passes when we don’t hear someone, or several people, say thanks for the role the University plays in this community. “Marion would be a lot different place to live without IWU,” is a common remark.
We want to be good neighbors. So, notwithstanding those compliments, I wanted to gain a better perspective on the concern that IWU is a non-profit organization that doesn’t pay property tax on our campus.
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
- IWU’s Marion campus consists of 384 parcels of land, of which 300 are tax-exempt. Those 300 parcels represent just 1.6 percent of the 18,882 parcels in the City of Marion.
- IWU pays $128,000 in Grant County property taxes on the other 84 parcels, most of which are rental properties that were purchased for future campus growth.
- Footnote: IWU is currently working with the county assessor’s office to consolidate 294 of those parcels into 37 parcels to reduce paperwork for the county.
- IWU pays $232,000 annually to Marion Utilities for water ($65,000), sewers ($101,000) and storm water ($41,000).
- Footnote: When Marion Utilities made major upgrades to water and sewer utilities a decade ago in South Marion, IWU paid a share of the cost that far exceeded the benefit to the University. And IWU also picked up the tab for a Washington-based consulting firm that helped to secure federal funding for those projects.
- Although other utilities are not city-owned, IWU also pays $1.1 million annually to American Electric Power and $216,000 annually to Vectren for natural gas.
As a new president I found this information helpful to understand IWU’s relationship with the tax base and utility structure of our city.