Catholic parishes get tax relief from city

A Dorchester pastor has received a much-needed abatement from city tax collectors, who sent him a hefty bill earlier this year.

The properties in question included the former St. Kevin’s Parish property in Uphams Corner, which is in the midst of a sale that would convert it into affordable housing for families, and two parcels on the St. Peter’s Parish campus on Bowdoin St., which are also expected to be set up as affordable housing sites.

Rev. Jack Ahern received an abatement of about $48,750 for fiscal year 2011 for the St. Kevin’s property, and relief of $31,300 for the St. Peter’s property. Both properties are being sold to developers, with the proceeds going to a trust for the parishes.

The abatements were part of a “global settlement” between the city and the Archdiocese of Boston that involved 42 properties in total.

Fr. Ahern, whose parishes include St. Peter’s, Blessed Mother Teresa. and St. Kevin’s, had argued to city officials that the parishes couldn’t afford to pay the bill and he would have to cut back on his services. “The settlement allows us to move forward, which is good,” he said, praising City Hall officials for working with him to resolve the issue.

Ahern had argued that the properties should not have been put on the tax rolls because religious activities were still occurring on their grounds, and the sales had not been declared final. City assessors came out to visit the properties and made a new assessment, he said.

In the case of the St. Kevin’s property, which closed as part of a 2008 consolidation plan, the St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center, the Holy Family Parish, and a non-profit developer are working to turn the parcel into affordable housing. A meeting was scheduled for last night at St. Peter’s Teen Center where local residents and the BRA will discuss affordable housing plans for the St. Peter’s property at 307 Bowdoin St.