Study pegs HWS economic impact at $244M
And yet Hobart contributes $244 million to the local economy.
if that were true the streets would be paved in gold, there would be no city taxes and all the city children would be feed
Posted: Sunday, February 15, 2015 2:00 pm
By JIM MILLER firstname.lastname@example.org | 0 comments
GENEVA — Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ economic impact topped $244 million in 2013, a study by the Center for Governmental Research found.
CGR reviewed the impact of independent colleges and universities statewide. Hobart and William Smith touted the results last week as it presented a $169,793 check to the city, part of a 10-year, $1.7 million commitment to help Geneva keep its budget balanced.
“From my point of view, we’re all in this together,” HWS President Mark Gearan said. “Geneva is a great place to live, a great place to work, and it’s a great place for our students to study and learn.”
The CGR study included the Colleges’ spending on labor and construction in its impact figure, along with spending by students and visitors. The latter totaled $21.6 million in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Colleges themselves spent more than $101 million and directly employed 730 people.
“I think it evidences that Hobart and William Smith comes in partnership with the community,” Gearan said. “We are advantaged, certainly, by the opportunities that the city provides us. I’d like to think that people could see in this the significant impacts of Hobart and William Smith. This one is economic — $244 million — and that does not count the number of personnel that volunteer in community services, our partnership, Geneva 2020, which we’re leading with the school system, and hopefully the engagement that all community members have.”
The Colleges have been criticized because of the more than $100 million worth of tax-exempt property they own. However, city officials say their positive impact is pronounced.
“The funds provided by HWS under our agreement represent only a fraction of the total contribution of the Colleges today, and of the commitment they continue to make in fostering economic development and growth in Geneva,” City Manager Matt Horn said in a press release. “The Colleges’ financial impact has been well-documented, and it can be felt in nearly every economic and social aspect of the Geneva community. We are proud to host Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and look forward to many more years of continued partnership.”
The Colleges moved their Office of Advancement downtown in 2012, creating the largest influx of employees in recent history. The Colleges also have moved their communications office to 20 Seneca St. and plan to move some information technology staff downtown too.
Because the Colleges lease space downtown, the property remains on the tax roll.
“Hobart and William Smith have been a great partner for the city of Geneva in many different ways,” John Hicks, director of the Business Improvement District, said in a press release. “For both the city and BID, the Colleges have been great in sharing time and service, collaborating on internships and offering expertise on projects in the community. Local spending by the Colleges, students and employees also has a considerable impact, while the campus infrastructure, including athletic venues and the success of the teams, has drawn people to the city and HWS.”
The Colleges have done their own studies of their economic impact in the past. Gearan sees the CGR report as third-party, independent verification of that work.
“We are proud of our partnership and certainly grateful to Geneva,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful host to the Colleges for nearly two centuries.”