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Summerland churches receive property tax relief

Permissive tax exemptions granted to three churches with excess lands
St. John’s Lutheran Church in Summerland is one of three churches in Summerland deemed to have land in excess of what is needed to deliver services. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Three Summerland churches will receive permissive tax exemptions for the next four years.

On Aug. 22, Summerland council voted to grant exemptions to Julia Street Church, St. John’s Lutheran Church and the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.

The permissive tax exemption covers the 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026 calendar years.

The three churches are the only ones in Summerland with lands in excess of what has been deemed to be required to provide services.

READ ALSO: Tax exemptions to change for three Summerland churches

READ ALSO: Summerland extends permissive tax exemptions

In August 2018, Summerland council provided a scaled annual reduction to the permissive tax exemption for the three churches, with a 70 per cent exemption in 2019, a 50 per cent exemption in 2020 and a 25 per cent exemption in 2021.

However, the bylaw was not renewed for 2022 and none of the churches initially received the permissive tax exemptions.

Summerland municipal staff worked with each of the churches to provide grants in aid that adjusted their tax amounts.

At the council meeting on Aug. 22, Jefrey Koenig, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, asked for a 100 per cent exemption on 100 per cent of the church’s property.

The church runs a community garden on a portion of its property.

Don Huston, pastor of Julia Street Church, said the area in excess is not usable because of access issues. He added the church is able to maintain its financial status, but to move forward with any further development is difficult.

Rick Gay, pastor of Summerland Alliance Church, said the church has a garden area on its land within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

He is asking that the church receive a 100 per cent tax exemption for this property. The church is working to expand its community garden project.

There is a house in front of the church. This house is rented to a family for below market value.

Each of the churches will receive 100 per cent tax exemptions for lands not in excess of the amount used in delivery of services.

In addition, the churches will all receive a break on taxes on their excess lands, although this amount is different in each case.

For St. John’s Lutheran Church, the exemption will be 100 per cent on the lands in excess of the amount used in the delivery of services. This includes a portion of church property used for a community garden project.

For Julia Street Church, the reduction is 25 per cent on the lands in excess of the amount used in the delivery of services.

For Summerland Alliance Church, the reduction is 100 per cent for most of its excess lands, including the church’s community garden project. However, the house at the front of the church’s property does not receive a tax reduction. The municipality does not give a tax reduction for residences on church properties.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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