In debating payments in lieu of taxes, Tanglewood can't be separated from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, an organization with real and hardly unique challenges.
The PILOT payment issue is a genuine one in the Berkshires, particularly in Stockbridge, which hosts a variety of cultural nonprofits. Kim Noltemy, the chief operations and communications officer for the BSO, appeared before the Stockbridge Select Board to discuss Tanglewood's economic impact (Eagle, April 22).
Ms. Notelmy told Selectmen and residents that it is difficult for the BSO to make a voluntary payments when it is dealing with a structural deficit. The $18 million in retirement payments for musicians is a considerable responsibility, one that many organizations face as retirees live longer according to actuarial tables.
Tanglewood cannot be accused of failing to explore new ways of generating revenue. The BSO has expanded its Popular Artists series in the shoulder seasons and on rare open dates in summer. This season's June 17 opening is the earliest ever, and it would be good to see Tanglewood extend its season well into the beautiful month of September. It would also be good to see a bigger audience for BSO concerts featuring extraordinary soloists and opera singers.
PILOT aside, Tanglewood draws thousands to the Berkshires, filling restaurants, inns and hotels. It and other cultural nonprofits are genuine community assets.