On October 13, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals (COA) upheld the property tax exempt status for properties owned by Five Healthy Towns Foundation (5HF), specifically Dexter Wellness Center. The decision makes it possible for 5HF to once again use its funds for its community’s long term health and wellness.
“We are relieved that the uncertainty is over and we can move forward,” says Amy Heydlauff, 5HF CEO. “The unanimous decision earlier this year in the related Baruch case by the Michigan Supreme Court gave us hope that the COA would find in our favor. In the end the COA said it didn’t need the Baruch decision and that the Michigan Tax Tribunal erred in its opinion when it determined we should pay property tax.”
The foundation, which operates wellness centers and other programs in five communities, has paid more than $1.3 million in property taxes since the tax exemption was challenged in 2013. Those payments will now be returned to 5HF.
“Every day we deliver programs and services that help our residents attain and improve healthy lifestyles,” says Kari Newman, chair of the 5HF Board of Directors. “We are pleased that the court of Appeals decision 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.