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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Gun Club settles property tax issue with assessor

County officials and the Spokane Gun Club have reached an agreement that will allow the club to remain at its location in Greenacres, its home for more than 65 years.

The Spokane County Assessor’s Office had challenged an April ruling that found roughly 37 acres of the nonprofit club’s property remained eligible for a tax deferral program. The Assessor’s Office said that the program was designed for farming, and that portions of the gun club’s property had been developed for RV use.

The gun club countered that it had worked out agreements with the Assessor’s Office multiple times over the past 20 years that left its property in the tax deferral program. Members anticipated the $40,000 requested by the county in back taxes and penalties would bankrupt the nonprofit.

Les Camp, president of the club, said this week the agreement removed the RV parking lot from the program, returning the land to its light industrial zoning and charging all property taxes for that parcel.

However, the Assessor’s Office dropped its challenge on the rest of the property, a compromise that will keep the gun club’s doors open.

“We’re going to be paying a little bit more in taxes on an annual basis,” Camp said. “It was a significant move for us. The assessors were great.”

The Assessor’s Office argued at the hearing in March that they were under pressure from the Washington Department of Revenue to “clean up” the parcels included in the Open Space Taxation program. Land that had previously been eligible for the tax deferral, which includes categories for land used in farming, recreation, historic preservation or timber harvest, was being used for other purposes, and counties were tasked with updating their information.

Spokane County Assessor Vicki Horton provided a list of 118 parcels that were slated for removal from the program during the past two years because of updated property information.

Though the gun club prevailed before a group of local volunteers on the Board of Equalization, Spokane County Deputy Assessor Byron Hodgson said “the handwriting was on the wall” the gun club would have problems proving the land used for RV hookups should continue to receive the tax break.

“I’m glad that we were able to come to some meeting of the minds,” Hodgson said.

Camp said the penalties and back taxes assessed on the RV land will not put the club in financial hardship and should not cause increases to membership dues or other fees. The club also agreed to farm some additional land on its property to align with the goals of the tax deferral program, Camp said.

The club will hold its annual meeting for all members Saturday, Nov. 14, at 1 p.m. at its location, 19615 E. Sprague Ave., Greenacres, WA, 99016.

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