The colleges are not to blame for the increased rate of poverty in Geneva. Possibly the higher tax rate, but definitely not the poverty. What would Geneva look like without the colleges? It would likely be a pretty depressing picture.
That said, although the NYS Constitution and NYS tax law grant nonprofit educational institutions tax exempt status, the colleges probably should contribute more to basic infrastructure projects within the city.
The city will be undertaking the paving of Pulteney Street between Hamilton and St. Clair. The colleges are the major and almost exclusive beneficiary of that stretch of roadway. However, is there a single taxable property over there? I understand the colleges offered to buy the property from the city, but it was met opposition from the public. Nevertheless, it would be nice to see the colleges step up and contribute to the repaving project. It's not a requirement under NY law, but it seems like the decent thing to do.