East St. Louis presses on with debated church fees - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

East St. Louis presses on with debated church fees

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - East St. Louis is pressing on with a $100-a-year fee on churches and nonprofits despite an outcry from clergy leaders who say it amounts to an unfair tax on their houses of worship.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the so-called annual registration fee imposed last year on churches would cover costs of inspecting the sites for fire safety.

Churches and nonprofits in the city were added to an ordinance that required businesses to register with the city. Most of the fee would go to inspections, with $25 covering "administrative costs."

Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. says a compromise panned by clergy would have allowed churches and nonprofits to avoid the fee if they agreed to hire their own certified inspector and provide such document to the city.

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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