Property Tax Bills Shock Attleboro Fraternal Clubs

Two non-profits in Attleboro are getting slapped with property tax bills for the first time.

The Knights of Columbus and the Moose Lodge both thought they were exempt because they are charitable organizations. However, the tax assessor says it was the result of an oversight.

The South Attleboro Knights of Columbus now has to pay a property tax bill of nearly $18,000, half of which is due by February 1st.

“I opened it up and I was just shocked,” Matt Sweeney of the Knights of Columbus said. “I thought it was a mistake.”

Sweeney says the organization never intended to evade the taxes, they just were not aware they had to pay them in the first place.

“When we got here we were told we didn't have to pay property taxes, and we never got a bill so we thought that was correct,” Sweeney said.

Tax Assessor Stan Nacewicz says it  is a shame it was overlooked for all of these years, but now he has no choice but to follow the law. He says it is the department's fault, not the city's attempt to raise money.

“We're not looking to raise revenue off of charitable organizations,” Nacewicz said. “We are just looking at the law and we have to apply that in an equitable way to everybody.”

The clubs can apply for charity exemptions, but it will not be enough to foot the entire bill. Members of the Knights of Columbus are worried about how they will come up with the remaining balance.

“There's only two ways of going,” Arthur Caouette of the Knights of Columbus said. “We can either get rid of the building, which I don't want to do, or we can stop giving out money to charities, which I definitely don't want to do.”