The three main parties in a tax dispute involving the headquarters of Joyce Meyer Ministries say they are satisfied with the settlement of the issue, which will boost tax revenue in the Northwest School District.
Under the agreement, Joyce Meyer Ministries will be taxed on 52 percent of the assessed valuation of its $20 million complex in the Fenton area.
Jefferson County Assessor Randy Holman said the settlement was the best deal he could get for the county.
“I couldn’t get any more out of them without negotiations totally breaking down,” Holman said Tuesday. “And if we went to court (to collect taxes on the property) there was a risk of not getting anything.”
So Joyce Meyer Ministries will pay between $450,000 and $500,000 in taxes over the next year on its 52-acre, $20 million complex, which serves as the headquarters of the group.
Joyce Meyer appears on television worldwide from a studio at the Fenton complex, and her ministries sell a variety of religious and inspirational materials there.
Holman said some of the buildings in the complex were used strictly for religious purposes and should be tax-exempt.
He had been seeking to tax the Joyce Meyer Ministries complex since 2001 until the tax settlement finally was negotiated late this summer.
Meyer’s ministries had contested Holman’s position, maintaining that the whole complex was a church and, therefore, was tax-exempt. But Mark Sutherland, a spokesman for Meyer, said the ministries agreed to pay taxes on part of its property after learning that the Northwest School District was losing out on revenue while the issue was under appeal.
“The driving factor was the kids,” Sutherland said Tuesday. “We thought we needed to settle the issue quickly” so the school district could get tax revenue from Meyer’s ministries, he said.
Superintendent John Urkevich of the Northwest district said he also was pleased with the settlement. The district, the second largest in Jefferson County behind the Fox district, should get more than $200,000 a year in additional tax revenue, Holman said.
Urkevich said the money would be used for salaries and for projects yet to be determined.