Buckner Files Suit Against Jefferson Central Appraisal District

Published 9:46 am Monday, September 10, 2018

To The Leader

BEAUMONT, Texas – Buckner Retirement Services, a faith-based, nonprofit senior living organization, filed a lawsuit against the Jefferson Central Appraisal District on Friday. The suit contests the district’s efforts to levy property taxes against Calder Woods in Beaumont.

Residents of Calder Woods were informed of the lawsuit Friday afternoon through a letter from Executive Director Ben Mazzara.

“While we regret the need to file this suit, we were left with no other choice after being continually denied our appeals by the taxing district regarding these property taxes,” said Mazzara.

“We feel confident these taxes will be removed, however, they do represent a very real threat, not only to Calder Woods, but to every nonprofit organization in our community. Taxing property owned by faith-based charitable organizations poses a breach of trust and encroaches upon our mission to provide services for the residents of Calder Woods.”

Since 1970, Buckner has served the Beaumont community through the ministry of Buckner Children’s Village, which serves the most vulnerable children in the community. Today, Buckner’s local ministries include Calder Woods, a nonprofit senior living community that opened in 2000.

Buckner opened Calder Woods in response to local faith leaders who approached Buckner directly in 1998 seeking a faith-based senior living community for Beaumont. These leaders expressed the desire for a “mission-driven community for seniors” who, at the time, were having to relocate to Houston to find a faith-based senior living community.

“It is critical for those who live at Calder Woods that these property taxes be repealed and that we return to operations as we have known them for the past 18 years,” added Mazzara. “This is also bigger than just Calder Woods and Buckner – this lawsuit is about all faith-based charitable organizations in Jefferson County. Taxing our work sends a message that we are not needed in the community, and we believe the benefits of faith-based ministries in communities like ours exceed any revenue gained by the appraisal district’s efforts to tax our property.”