Capacity Crowd Weighs In On Assessing Reform Proposal

Posted on August 16, 2018 by Dene Westbrook

A standing-room-only crowd greeted State Treasurer Nick Khouri and Senators Jim Stamas and Darwin Booher earlier this week at the Gaylord City Hall to provide feedback on the Treasurer’s proposed changes to the property assessing and tax administration process.  Prior to the summer recess, Senate Bill 1025 and House Bill 6049 were introduced and had an initial hearing to begin the public debate on this issue.  At that time, the Treasurer and legislative sponsors indicated an interest in continuing to work with stakeholders over the summer months to refine the proposal and address any concerns with the introduced language.  As a part of that commitment to work over the summer, three of these forums have been scheduled for the month of August.  This week’s event in Gaylord was the first, with two more scheduled for later this month (see details below).

The roughly one hundred city, township, and county officials who attended this week’s forum were welcomed to Gaylord by Mayor John Jenkins and Sen. Jim Stamas, who represents Otsego County and is one of the sponsors of the proposed legislation.

Many comments provided during the two hour forum centered around the appropriateness of the proposed thresholds for a local unit to provide their own assessing without joining other local units to provide the service or defaulting to the county for that service.  The rural nature of northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, combined with the lack of highly credentialed assessors in those areas has lead to numerous concerns about this provision in the proposed bill.  Other comments focused on the cost of the proposed changes, the lack of current support from the State Tax Commission, shortage of assessors, promoting greater opportunities for education and communication between the state and local partners, and a push for a more unified and robust investment in technology and software to better streamline the process and the presentation of property data.

Following the public forums this month, the League anticipates participating in work group meetings with the Treasurer and legislative proponents to evaluate the prospects for changes to the bills that could offer a consensus for moving forward with potential changes to the current law.

Upcoming Meeting Details:

Date: August 28, 2018
Time: 10 a.m.- Noon
Location: Gaines Charter Township Hall
8555 Kalamazoo Ave SE
Caledonia, MI 49316

Date: August 29, 2018
Time: 10 a.m.- Noon
Novi City Hall
45175 W 10 Mile Rd
Novi, MI 48375

League members interested in attending one of these upcoming forums are encouraged to contact Chris Hackbarth at the League to help coordinate comments and participation.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and [email protected].


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