Preachers will pay taxes after all | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Preachers will pay taxes after all

Posted By on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Pulaski County Tax Assessor Janet Troutman Ward, exposed this morning in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article for granting legally questionable real property tax exemptions on the personally owned homes of nine preachers, has reversed course.

She says she'll put these homes on the property tax rolls after all. Taxes are due Oct. 12 She said she'll only seek taxes for this year. Some have had exemptions for years and Ward could seek refunds, but she said she still believes she has a legal justification for these exemptions and says she'll see how the issue plays out in expected court challenges before deciding on past taxes. She's also discovered one more exemption than originally reported.

The taxes totaled roughly $31,000 a year on homes ranging up to a $600,000 west Little Rock spread with pool and tennis courts. The largest beneficiaries, according to Charlie Frago's story, were Bishop Steven Arnold, until recently senior pastor at St. Mark Baptist; Awareness Center International Apostle Lawrence E. Braggs, who had the biggest house; United Pentecostal Church Presbyter Bill Harden, and Joel Holmes of North Little Rock's First Pentecostal Church. Ward said the pastor of her church was not among those exempted.

Ward she'd had the policy in place for 10 years, but many pastors, including leaders of mainline churches, didn't qualify because they didn't use their home for church purposes as these did. She contended they used homes for counseling, prayer sessions and other ministries. She said further that case law was murky, but offered support for her tax-exemption for parsonages. "I just don't give it to anybody," she said. She said she'd denied a licensed minister this week because his preaching was part-time. She said she didn't know if any other assessor granted exemptions to personally owned preachers' homes.

She decided to reverse course, she said, after a discussion this morning after the article appeared with Karla Burnett, the county attorney. "She believes they should be put back on" the tax rolls. She said she's pretty sure only 10 parcels are involved, though she's still researching potentially a couple more. "I think I'll get sued," she said, but she said this could either be from someone contesting the past exemptions or seeking one.

"It's a legal question," she said. "I didn't set out to do this maliciously." She said a legal challenge might be useful in clearing the air. She was preparing letters today notifying preachers of her decision, but she said the media was already doing a good job of getting the word out.

Here, according to Ward, are the 10 homeowners getting notice that taxes are owed though properties had previously been classified as exempt:

Steven and Shanta Arnold, 28 Durance Drive, Little Rock

Marvin R. and Angela Barham, 5613 Westview St., North Little Rock

Lawrence E. Braggs, 156211 Sorrells Road, Little Rock

Craig B. Collier, no address, North Little Rock

David H. and Marian Dyer, 19 Coolwood, Little Rock

Wayne Garner, Highway 300, Roland

Bill and Margaret Harden, 11600 Hilaro Springs Road, Little Rock

Joel and Janet Holmes, 520 Ascot, Sherwood

Gerald and Wanda Parker, 950 Journe6y Dr8iive, Sherwood

Jon R and Lyn Webb, 8 Summerland Court, Little Rock

Tags: , , ,


Comments (21)

Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Mike Anderson out as Razorback basketball coach

    MIke Anderson has been fired as Razorback basketball coach.
    • Mar 26, 2019
  • Can Donald Trump block critics on Twitter? (And if he can't .....)

    An appeals court heard arguments today on whether Donald Trump can block critics on Twitter. He argues it's his personal account (as, for example, Sen. Jason Rapert does in blocking people from his social media.) The judges seem to have doubts about Trump's argument.
    • Mar 26, 2019
  • Senate endorses 'constitutional carry'

    In a vote without legal meaning, the Senate voted 24-5 today in support of a resolution "clarifying" that Arkansas is "a constitutional carry state, with no permit required to carry a handgun, either unconcealed or concealed."
    • Mar 26, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017


Most Recent Comments


© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation