Church offers to pay more to avoid $666 bill

KEARNEY, Mo. - You don't often hear of anyone asking to pay more to a government agency. But a church in Kearney did just that to avoid paying a $666 fee for a building permit.

At City Hall, they couldn't believe it when they first saw the number.

"I called my community development director and said ‘hey check this out!' and he said ‘add that up again,'" recalled building inspector Chad Coffelt.

They did the math several times to make sure, but there was no mistake. The bill was correct; the church owed $666 for a permit to build a small addition.

"It's just what it ended up coming out to be," Coffelt said.

When Crossroads Community Church saw the bill for the permit, they asked if they could pay an extra dollar to avoid the number.

"The permit came in an email attachment, and that's when I saw the amount," Pastor Brett Toole said.

But he knew the city would help.

"I had to explain it to some people, but there were some that got it right away, understood the biblical numerology and how that was not a great number for a church," he said.

So Toole asked the city: "Could we pay an extra dollar and get us off of that 666 number?"

"That's the first time I've ever had anybody ask that," Coffelt said.

Everyone agreed it was all good for a laugh. Still, they all feel a little better now that that number has been changed.

After all that, the church doesn't actually have to pay the bill. The city of Kearney routinely waives that fee for churches and other nonprofits.

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