Jefferson County Assessor Randy Holman said Monday night that the ministry will pay approximately 52 percent of the assessed property tax value on its headquarters.
The two sides reached the agreement late this summer, bringing an end to a dispute over whether the church should have to pay property taxes.
“They were very adamant from the beginning that they shouldn’t have to pay anything, and I was just as adamant that I thought they should pay the full amount,” Holman said. Meyer could not be reached for comment Monday night.
There were no serious negotiations between the two sides until late July, when Holman said Jefferson County School Board officials contacted both sides and urged them to reach a compromise before the schools set up their budgets for the next school year.
They began discussions in early August. “When we sat down, I personally had the impression that the question for them at that point was how much they were going to pay rather than whether or not they would pay at all,” Holman said.
Holman and officials from the ministry made a verbal agreement at the end of August, but the official settlement was not complete until a month later. Officials from Meyer’s ministry, a $90 million empire based in Fenton, were amicable throughout the negotiations, Holman said.
The ministry will pay between $450,000 and $500,000 over the next year alone in taxes.
The assessed value includes the church’s corporate offices as well as personal properties under the ministry’s name. The ministry had been paying the full amount of the assessed tax value, about $1 million a year, into an escrow account during the dispute. Holman said the county will return about 48 percent of that money to the ministry. The escrow was paid for about three years.
Holman said that although the ministry has plans to expand in Jefferson County, no agreements have been made on how much the expansion property will be taxed, if at all.
“But I think the current agreement will serve as a basis for everything else in the future,” Holman said.
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