Ada County reviews YMCA tax-exempt status

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- YMCA's nationwide are beset by commercial health clubs challenging their tax-exempt non-profit charitable status in the strenuous battle for America's exercise dollars.

What's happening in Boise is a skirmish in that on-going fight.

Earlier this year, the West Family YMCA moved its childcare to a nearby building and added more crossfit equipment and programs such as yoga.

Two commercial health clubs in Boise, Idaho Athletic Club and Axiom, asked county commissioners if that specific YMCA facility should then be allowed to keep its full property tax exemption.

"We frankly feel those are adult fitness activities, those are pay-for services," said Shaun Wardle, chief financial officer for Idaho Athletic Club. "While we don't offer crossfit at my location, there are a number of cross fit gyms around that do pay property tax."

Ada County commissioners approved a partial 19 percent tax exemption for the West YMCA parcel.

But they put that decision on hold after the Boise YMCA, which does business as the Treasure Valley Family YMCA, countered that their track record of non-profit community service should be considered and the full 100% tax exemption restored.

"We provide childcare for hundreds and hundreds of kids who otherwise couldn't have those kinds of services," said the YMCA's Jim Everett. "We would be here all day if I talked about everything we do for the community."

Commissioners also wanted more time to digest additional information submitted by the YMCA.

They'll take the issue up again with all parties involved July 3.