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Wauwatosa, church settle tax lawsuit

May 6, 2009

Wauwatosa - The city has agreed to settle a lawsuit over property taxes by refunding $144,000 to a church foundation and agreeing to exempt the parcel involved from any future property taxes.

The action was approved Tuesday night by the Common Council.

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Foundation, which is affiliated with Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 9400 W. Congress St., sued the city in June.

The suit is over a parcel at N. 92nd and W. Congress streets that is owned by the foundation, Assistant City Attorney Beth Aldana said Wednesday. The suit was filed after the city assessed a total of $175,000 in property taxes on the land for 2007 and 2008.

The taxes were assessed because the church already owns 10 acres that are exempt from property taxes, which is allowed under state law, Aldana said.

The city has agreed, however, to refund $144,000 of the $175,000 and not to impose any future property taxes on the parcel, Aldana said. She noted that the parcel, while owned by the foundation rather than the church, is used for religious activities, including religious education.

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