A four-year tax dispute could force a child care center in Cold Spring to close, the St. Cloud Times reports.
Dei Spring Academy is affiliated with a church, Gloria Dei Lutheran, and argues it should be a tax-exempt property. However, Stearns County officials disagree and say the church owes nearly $40,000 in back property taxes.
Gloria Dei bought the existing center in 2009 and filed for a tax exemption, but the county says it doesn't qualify because the school continues to operate as a business.
The state Department of Revenue agrees with the county.
“We’ve essentially decided that we’re not going to pay anything, that it’s worth fighting for the religious aspect of the whole thing, and that we’re right,” School board chairman Dave Olson told the newspaper. “The statute clearly states that churches are tax-exempt for property tax purposes. That’s our bottom line.”