Council to study exempting non-profits from real estate taxes

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FRANKLIN—After recently waiving Woodmen of the World’s requirement to pay real estate taxes on its Fourth Avenue building, Franklin City Council on Monday set up a committee to establish criteria should other non-profits make the same request.

Woodmen of the World at the current rate will no longer have to pay $2,238 a year.

The committee will include Councilmen Benny Burgess and Greg McLemore, Commissioner of the Revenue Brenda Rickman, Finance Director Melissa Rollins, Treasurer Dinah Babb and City Attorney Taylor Williams.

McLemore suggested if an organization’s donations to the community exceeds its real estate taxes, the taxes could be waived .

Mayor Jim Councill said tracking donations would be difficult, and used YMCA as an example, which gives free swimming lessons.

Councilman Barry Cheatham suggested asking organizations to submit three years of tax returns or a financial statement.

Burgess also suggested the committee request a deadline for applications to help with the annual budgeting process.

The council also discussed whether or not a non-profit that has a license to serve alcohol license should be exempt from paying real estate taxes. McLemore said he would support the tax-exempt status for events such as casino nights and other fundraisers.

“I would support that (alcohol) to be included,” he said. “We would be limiting them from having these kinds of events.”

The council by Feb. 1 will give its suggested requirements to the committee for its study.