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Tag: Local Government
By JGillman, Section News
One person running for a local office up here is Cheryl Walton of Whitewater Township.
The cost to our communities from special assessments, millages and general apathy to the financial wherewithal of constituents can be appalling. Cheryl has written up in just a few paragraphs, a story that can be related and well understood in dozens of townships throughout Michigan. Examples of over-planning, a desire for the best, yet without the ability to pay, and property owners which find themselves on the raw end of someone else' ambition.
This is just one true tale, that as yet has not ended.
WHITEWATER TOWNSHIP BOARD'S "ROAD TO RUIN"
In January/February 2005, a petition for paving 4 roads (Watson, Mabel, Deal, and Lackey) was circulated to road frontage owners. A sheet accompanying the petition estimated the total cost of paving to be $1 million, to be split half and half between the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and the property owners, with the annual cost per "benefit" estimated at $200 annually for 10 years. More than 50% of the road frontage owners signed the petition.
In August 2005, a different petition listing 5 roads (Watson, Mabel, Deal, Lackey, AND SKEGEMOG POINT ROAD south of M-72) was circulated only to Skegemog Point Road frontage owners. Less than 50% of the frontage owners signed, not meeting the Public Improvement Act requirement that more than 50% of the frontage owners agree to the improvement. Despite this fact, the southern portion of Skegemog Point Road was added to the list of roads to be paved, adding close to $300,000 to the cost of the project. The signers of the 4-road petition never agreed to the paving of Skegemog Point Road.
(1 comment, 1555 words in story) Full Story
By JGillman, Section News
As many business owners understand, there is "property tax" and there is "property tax". And while the two seem to be quite similar, the difference is how one is handled over the other.
Property tax as we all recognize is the repeated taxation on real property (acreage, land, buildings) which is used in a number of different formulas and provides a basis for government funding, millages for special purposes, and has for so many years until recently been a boon for local governments who would rather grow more services, than cut taxes on the increased value added properties. It is regressive, in that it discourages ownership, and puts at risk those on fixed incomes. Property tax on real property as it stands is already bad enough, yet has funded state and local government expansion to a point that any contraction in values puts at risk those things necessary and proper.
But "Property Tax", as in PERSONAL Property tax or INDUSTRIAL property tax, is something even more sinister. In 2007, I wrote:
"For some of us, the process is mostly painless financially; A couple of desks, computers, a few inventory racks.. But for quite a few Job creators, it can make a profitable year much less so with equipment that costs hundreds of thousands for manufacturing processes etc..
All equipment bought for use in your business is taxable at the time of purchase. Then it is taxable when you use it, repeatedly, like real property tax. It is assessed a little differently, and relies for the most part on voluntary inventory declaration of business assets. (though larger businesses might have a personal visit from an assessor around Dec 31) It creates a level of work for the business owner that can be complicated depending on the quantity of business useable assets. It also creates a great deal of work for township assessors who must peruse the minutia (if they are doing the job properly) and properly report to the state the value of those assets and amounts collected.
Often it becomes a whole lot of work for very little benefit, if anything at all.
~ More Below ~
(4 comments, 946 words in story) Full Story
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