After years of appeals and court battles - including a civil-rights suit - the Delaware County tax board has ruled that a church in tiny Trainer Borough will not have to pay real estate levies.
The Board of Assessment found Monday that two parcels in the Church of the Overcomer complex that carried nearly $10,000 in annual tax bills qualified for exemptions, effective Jan. 1.
"I've spent a decade of my life fighting for this cause," said Pastor Keith Collins, adding that the dispute "should never have happened."
No decision has been made on whether to appeal, said Steve Polaha, solicitor for the Chichester School District. The annual school-tax bill for the two properties is about $6,500.
"I'm reviewing the results of all appeals for 2016," he said.
The district contended that the church had never proved that all of its buildings, on the 1000 block of Sunset Street, were used for religious purposes.
The church pursued litigation alleging discrimination, including an unsuccessful civil-rights suit against the district and the Board of Assessments.
The church that previously owned the property enjoyed tax-exempt status, Collins said.
Collins said the church would try to recoup the taxes paid in previous years, including interest and penalties. Polaha said he did not think the church had grounds to recover taxes it had paid.