5 Healthy Towns Foundation News

Michigan Supreme Court Upholds Tax Exempt Decision for 5HF

For Immediate Release                                                Contact:  Amy Heydlauff, CEO Date June 22, 2018                                                        734-433-4599                                                                                                            amy@5healthytowns.org

            

The Michigan Supreme Court issued its Order Wednesday, June 20, 2018, denying the City of Dexter’s appeal of the Michigan Court of Appeals decision which upheld the property tax exemption on the Dexter Wellness Center, hopefully bringing an end to the City of Dexter’s protracted challenge of the exempt status of the Wellness Center. 

“Despite multiple, continued court challenges and legal uncertainty, and the significant monies paid in legal fees, 5 Healthy Towns Foundation (5HF) continued to fulfill its nonprofit mission of improving the health and wellness of its community,” explains Amy Heydlauff, 5HF’s CEO. 5 Healthy Towns Foundation owns Dexter Wellness Center.  “The Michigan Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case is one more affirmation of the solid ground we occupy as a nonprofit, charitable organization.” She said.

The COA decision last fall was one of two significant court decisions regarding nonprofits and property taxes in Michigan.  Last June the Michigan Supreme Court decided in favor of nonprofits in the Baruch SLS v. Township of Tittabawassee property tax case. 

5 Healthy Towns Foundation operates wellness centers and other programs in five communities and has paid more than $1.6 million in property taxes since the tax exemption was first challenged in 2013.  5 Healthy Towns Foundation offered a settlement in 2014 which the original taxing authority, Scio Township, supported. The City of Dexter, which at the time was not the taxing authority but an intervening party, did not agree. That forced the case into court.

            “Today’s decision and the previous ones by the COA and the Supreme Court in the Baruch case, demonstrate that Michigan courts understand the societal value that charitable nonprofits bring to their communities and the state,” says Joan Bowman, external affairs officer, Michigan NonProfit Association.

            “Every day our wellness centers and other programs deliver programs and services that help our residents attain and improve healthy lifestyles,” says Jeff Wallace, chair of the 5HF Board of Directors.  “We are pleased that the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the decision of the Court of Appeals will now permit us to redirect funds toward furthering that charitable mission.” 

5HF is a tax exempt, private foundation representing populations in the school districts of Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester and Stockbridge with a mission to cultivate improvements in personal and community wellness. 

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