Brandywine School District exempted a Wilmington church and office building from having to pay school property taxes, even though they are not in the district.
Both properties are part of Christina School District, but the state’s tax code requires Christina, Brandywine, Colonial and Red Clay district school boards all must approve the abatement request in order for the owners to get it.
However, since Christina will be financially impacted the most, and its board approved both abatement requests, it’s expected the other districts will follow suit.
Before Wilmington split into four districts in 1981, the tax rate was 48.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value. (For comparison: Caesar Rodney School District is now seeking to bump taxes up to 52.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.)
The first location, 314 South Jackson Street in Wilmington, is owned by The Neighborhood Group, and the second, 250 Executive Drive in Newark, is a Pencader Corporate Center.
The Neighborhood Church
The church is seeking the tax exemption because it is a religious institution.
New Castle County’s Office of Finance, Division of Assessment and New Castle County Office
of Law did not grant The Neighborhood Group a religious property tax exemption until Aug. 26, 2022, due to COVID-19 delays.
The agencies determined the exemption would go into effect on July 1, 2023.
Because of the delay, the property owners overpaid taxes for the 2021-2022 school year.
The county cannot do anything with school taxes, however, without the approval of the local school boards, according to Jill Floore, chief financial officer at Brandywine.
Brandywine’s board voted to approve the tax refund request as a credit towards future taxes.
The total impact for Brandywine School District is $805.73 which is reflective of the taxes paid in error from for the tax year 2021-2022.
The Pencader Corporate Center in Newark
For the corporate center in Newark, New Castle County assessed the property value incorrectly, and after Christina initially rejected the corporation’s request for a tax refund, Delaware’s Superior Court ruled in February that the district is indeed viable for providing the refund.
The court order details that in total, the property on Executive Drive is seeking $70,000 for overpayments.
Brandywine’s board approved the tax refund request as a credit towards future taxes.
The approval will cost the district $3,477.55, which reflects taxes paid in error from 2006-2019.
Christina will take a bigger hit, with the corporate office’s abatement costing it $57,725.11 in tax revenue.
Christina’s school board approved the both abatements in its March 14 meeting. Colonial’s board will vote on the matter in its meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m., and Red Clay’s board will vote in its meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m.
If Colonial’s board approves the corporation’s abatement request, it will cost them $3,164.78, and Red Clay $4,877.05.
It was not discussed at Brandywine’s board meeting Monday how much the church’s abatement will cost Colonial and Red Clay.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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