Saturday, June 09, 2007

Botetourt wins tax case against The Glebe

The Roanoke Times
By Jay Conley

A Circuit judge has ruled that The Glebe, an upscale retirement community in Botetourt County, does not meet tax exempt state guidelines as a religious and benevolent organization and must pay taxes to Botetourt County.

Judge Michael Irvine’s ruling, issued today, concludes a March trial resulting from a 2005 lawsuit by the county against The Glebe.

The lawsuit contended that the nonprofit retirement facility in Daleville off U.S. 220 is an upscale resort for wealthy retirees and should be required to pay real estate taxes to Botetourt County rather than be exempt under state guidelines that protect religious or benevolent organizations.

The Glebe’s parent company is Virginia Baptist Homes, which received the tax-exempt status from the state in 1976. The tax designation allows properties owned by the organization to be exempt from paying state, local and inheritance taxes.

"It is not an understatement to say we are disappointed, but we are going forward with The Glebe and we will continue to serve our mission and the people who are residing at The Glebe and the folks around the Roanoke Valley," Virginia Baptist Homes president Randall Robinson said.

Botetourt County officials have said they believe The Glebe is a worthwhile organization but does not deserve tax-exempt status.

"Botetourt County and its taxpayers are gratified by Judge Irvine’s decision," Botetourt County Administrator Jerry Burgess said. "We welcome The Glebe as a corporate citizen of Botetourt County and are pleased that our differences over its tax status have been resolved."

Robinson said it was too soon to say if Virginia Baptist Homes would appeal the Botetourt County Circuit Court ruling. He said a decision would come after consultation with the organization’s attorneys and board of directors.

Burgess estimated that The Glebe should be paying the county about $235,000 annually in taxes.

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