Eyes on Milwaukee: Tax Exemption For Church Gets Pushback

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1422 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. Photo taken June 22nd, 2021 by Jeramey Jannene.

1422 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. Photo taken June 22nd, 2021 by Jeramey Jannene.

A religion wants to instrumentality implicit an creation assemblage successful the city’s Haymarket vicinity northbound of Fiserv Forum. And with it, the gathering would go taxation exempt.

It’s the second information that is drafting interest from members of the Common Council.

“The metropolis is comfy with that statement for an country that has seen important development?” asked Alderman Robert Bauman astatine Tuesday’s gathering of the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee. “I person a occupation with this record arsenic a effect of that.”

The religion needs a zoning alteration to accommodate its acquisition of the property.

“This is simply a immense deed to the city’s quality to money basal services,” said Bauman aft learning the spot is assessed for $1.05 million. The metropolis is capped based connected the worth of its taxable properties connected the magnitude of gross it tin raise. The religion spot is scheduled to beryllium billed for $29,274, including $10,556.12 for the City of Milwaukee, for spot taxes and peculiar assessments successful 2021.

Built successful 1916, the two-story, 22,500-square-foot gathering at 1422 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. was astir precocious location to RedLine, an creation assemblage and workplace space.

It opened successful the gathering successful 2009 and closed successful 2019. Created by Steve Vande Zande and Lori Bauman, the nonprofit became an incubator for Milwaukee’s arts community.

City records database it arsenic spot taxation exempt successful 2015, 2016 and 2017. State and national instrumentality allows exemptions for nonprofits provided they are not generating gross by leasing the space.

Christ Church Milwaukee plans to acquisition the gathering and found it arsenic a imperishable home.

The religion is requesting the property’s zoning beryllium changed from “industrial – light” to “industrial – mixed.” The religion would inactive request to person a peculiar usage licence from the Board of Zoning Appeals for a spiritual assembly space, but without the zoning alteration it would not adjacent beryllium eligible for the permit.

Department of City Development readying manager Sam Leichtling said DCD is supporting the zoning alteration based connected its regular support of specified a alteration for properties successful that country and different neighborhoods wherever manufacture is giving mode to commercialized and residential uses.

“In wide I don’t disagree with the metropolis program for the Haymarket area,” said country Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs. “Solely connected the contented of zoning I don’t person objections to the zoning being changed, whether oregon not a religion is the champion usage for it is simply a full different contented for me.”

She said it wasn’t astir the circumstantial church, but the taxation exemption.

Committee seat Ald. Jose G. Perez asked Leichtling if the metropolis has a modular process for however a petition is made and said the council’s ballot would apt sway the Board of Zoning Appeals.

There is simply a pathway to a compromise with the church.

“I conscionable wanted to inquire if determination were immoderate speech astir a outgo successful lieu of taxes?” asked Ald. Ashanti Hamilton. Payments successful lieu of taxes oregon PILOTs are yearly payments made by exempt organizations connected a voluntary basis.

The metropolis has utilized PILOTs to code the information that much than 9,000 properties are spot taxation exempt. A 2019 treasurer’s bureau study says $4.6 cardinal of spot is exempt, much than 17% of the city’s full assessed value. The percent of spot that is exempt acold outpaces the suburbs, further exacerbating the city’s fiscal woes fixed its state-imposed reliance connected spot taxation revenue.

“We person not been successful interaction with the assessor’s bureau astatine each successful regards to a taxation exemption oregon a PILOT payment,” said religion typical Leia Wyatt.

But Wyatt and pastor Jon Talley said they were alert of different church, City Reformed Church astatine 1661 N. Farwell Ave., that they said made PILOT payments.

“It’s not been unprecedented,” said Tally. The outgo would not request to screen the afloat spot taxation bill, but lone the metropolis stock of the measure oregon different agreed upon figure.

The committee unanimously voted to clasp the point to let that treatment to instrumentality place.

“I deliberation you person a small homework and connection to do,” said Perez.

The imaginable religion spot is listed for sale for $1.5 cardinal through Paul Monigal at Corley Real Estate. A acquisition terms for the religion has not been disclosed.

The spot was purchased successful an Internal Revenue Service auction by Milwaukee barroom and edifice owner R.C. Schmidt in 1987 for $87,000 and sold to a constricted liability institution connected to Lori Bauman successful 2008 for $480,000. RedLine engaged successful a important redevelopment of the spot anterior to opening.

The religion is an affiliate of the Presbyterian Church successful America. For much connected its plans, spot our sum of the June hearing earlier the City Plan Commission.

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