School board proposes summit on ‘tax-exempt’ issue

While the tax status of several non-profit organizations remains embroiled in court, the Warren County School District board of directors is trying to figure out where it fits in.

To those ends, the board passed a resolution during a meeting held on Monday night that expressed their desire “to hold a summit, or summits, with Warren County the other impacted taxing bodies, and the affected business entities.”

The resolution explains that “at their May 22, 2013, meeting the Warren County Commissioners approved a motion authorizing the Board of Commissioners to execute and file an appeal of the tax exempt status of Warren General Hospital, The Rouse Estate, The YMCA, The Crary Home, Calvary Chapel and Warren Anthems Inc. with the Warren County Board of Appeals for the tax year 2014.”

In light of that, “it is the Board’s desire that the purpose of the summit(s) be to educate the Board of School Directors and other impacted taxing bodies as to the facts and legal issues having bearing on the tax exempt status of the affected business entities and to identify those factual and legal issues upon which all parties can agree as a means of potentially resolving the litigation or streamlining the litigation so as to minimize the litigation fees for the taxing bodies,” according to the resolution.

The resolution also “authorizes and directs the administration and Board Officers to communicate with Warren County, the other impacted taxing bodies, and the affected business entities, with the goal of holding a summit, or multiple summits, at which all parties attend.”

Board President Arthur Stewart said that, after consulting with several of the entities involved, the legal fees that have already been incurred in this process are nearing $100,000.

Stewart argued that the larger inequity may be the actual assessment mechanism and that it may be time to consider re-assessment, in spite of the costs that come with such a venture.

As for when the summit might occur, Stewart said that they will most likely be scheduled in July or August. He said that he would like to hold the sessions in a public forum.