An annual Easter egg hunt was canceled at a Port Charlotte church to clear the way for a fundraiser.
The Community Life Assembly of God, valued at $3.5 million, owes $20,000 in taxes this year and is blaming the county for its large debt.
“We feel that ours is excessive and that it needs to be reevaluated,” Pastor Mark Coffey said.
While churches are exempt from paying traditional property taxes, they still have to pay non-ad valorem assessments based on public services like Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and solid waste and storm water.
Church members said they feel like they are paying more for Charlotte County Fire and Emergency Medical Services than those paying for Englewood Fire Control District Services.
Instead of asking families to hunt eggs at their annual community event, the church asked members to donate money that would go towards its tax bill.
“We’ve had to cancel it. We just can’t maintain events like that,” Coffey said.
The church is planning to ask county commissioners to make a change so they can focus that money on the community.