Sunday, August 06, 2006

Like insects around a lantern

For those that aren't aware, I grew up in a small suburb of St Louis called Webster Groves. It's quite a nice area, filled with very tall, old trees, and houses to match that give the area a very distincy character. But another thing that Webster always seemed to have a rather inordinate amount of, was churches.

According to the 2005 survey, there are 38 churches 23,000 citizens in what isn't an overly religious area. But just incase Webster residents couldn't find something to their liking, the surrouding communities were much the same.

However, if I thought Webster Groves had it bad, apparently it's nothing compared to the 51 churches Stafford TX, which serves a population of 19,227 in a scant 7 square miles. The churches have followed the growth of the community which has been driven by no property tax.

The problem is that, to make up for the lack of property tax, the community must recoup the loss from sales taxes and other busisness fees. However, churches have been grabbing up land left and right making it undevelopable, and untaxable.


Anonymous said...

Nice. I grew up in Florissant, and now live in Maplewood. Nice area around here, now.

But you're right, the churches are ubiquitous...

mollishka said...

South Carolina circumvents this problem by exempting all churches and charitable institutions (and a whole slew of other places) from having to pay property tax. The flipside of this is that they wind up with lots old churches sitting on very expensive land in the downtowns of the cities.

Anonymous said...

Real estate has become a very profitable business for churches. This is especially true with low income housing and nursing homes for which they recieve enormous HUD funding. The renters, and users, of these properties are generally of the class that may complain to each other, but simply don't understand the system well enough to go to authorities so the properties deteriorate to slums with no one watching while the churches who own them continue to collect from HUD. This is a bad problem in North Carolina. Brenda Bowers