This information is provided to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions. If you have any further questions or would like clarifaction about any of the topics, please contact the Township office.

What is property classification?

The classification of 401 indicates that the property is residential and improved… meaning that there is a building or structure of some type on the property. The classification of 402 would indicate that the property is residential in nature and vacant… without any type of structure on the property. All vacant land shows a 402 or 102 classification. The guidelines for the classification of property are clear and defined within the Michigan General Property Tax Act. A purpose of classifying property is for the Assessor to properly group properties for mass appraisal purposes.

How is my assessed value set?

The traditional Assessed Value (AV) is still required to be 50% of market value. County Equalization Studies indicate the rate of increase that should be applied to each class of property each year. These studies are done over a 24 month period, using actual sales within the township and comparing them to actual assessed values in the same year.

If the Assessor does not comply with the ratio indicated in these studies and does not reach the goal of a 50 % ratio for each class, then the township will be factored. This factor would increase each property’s AV within the class that does not conform to the regulations. This new “factored” number would show up under the STATE EQUALIZED VALUE (SEV). Currently the SEV and AV are the same number. The effort of the Assessing Department staff is to ensure that these two numbers continue to match year after year.

How is my taxable value set?

Sometimes referred to as “capped value”, Taxable Value is still a relatively new word created and signed into law in 1994. It is now the basis for property tax levies in Michigan. In 1995, Taxable Value equaled the 1995 Assessed Value as a basis for the beginning of this Act. From that point on, the Taxable Value has increased by the CPI “rate of inflation”, as determined by the State of Michigan, or 5%... whichever is less (+ any new construction) and may not exceed the Assessed Value. When the property transfers ownership, the Taxable Value is uncapped for the next year and increased to equal the next years Assessed Value. The Assessor is required by law to increase the Taxable Value as described above.

What are the responsibilities of the Board of Review?

To review the assessment roll however they may only change individual parcels, not entire groups or classes of property. This board is also responsible to listen to protests and decide on the validity of such protests.

Why is Blendon Township doing a Field Audit?

Since 2002 the Michigan State Tax Commission has used a 14-point review process as a mechanism to evaluate the compliance of local units with the requirements of the General Property Tax Act and the State Tax Commission rules.

More than 50 local units are chosen at random each year for this review. Blendon Township has not yet been chosen for the review, but will, at some point have to do this. Blendon Township is making an effort to bring the assessing department into compliance. If the Township is found to be non-compliant when the State does this review, the State will mandate that the Township become compliant and this could potentially come at great cost to the Township.

Part of this effort includes measuring and sketching properties for which the Township no longer has a property card. The Township cannot account for the missing cards; our new Assessor has discovered these cards to be inexplicably missing from our files. Nonetheless, Blendon Township is responsible for recovering the information that was on those property cards that at one time were used to establish their assessments. Therefore, we will conduct a Field Audit beginning in September 2007.

How is the Township going to prepare for a State Tax Commission review?

Part of the Township’s effort includes hiring a part-time, temporary field auditor to help gather the missing information and to confirm the accuracy of other information. Starting in September 2007, you might see the Township Field Auditor measuring your house or barns. The Township will try to give advance notice of the Auditor coming to your house.

There are also other efforts being made internally to become compliant with the State before Blendon Township is chosen for the 14-point review.

How much time does the Township have before a State Tax Commission review is conducted?

No one knows. Every year the Local Units are chosen by random selection at the State level. It could be next year, it could be in 5 years, we don’t know. But there is no doubt, the Township will be audited at some point.

What do the results of a Field Audit mean to me?

There will be no additional mills levied to pay for the part-time temporary field auditor.

This audit will not affect your taxable value or increase your tax rates unless there is “NEW CONSTRUCTION” from the past few years that has been missed and left off the assessment roll. The new assessor has already identified several properties with just such a problem. Most property owners already knew they were not paying enough taxes to account for their new houses, and many tried to remedy this through the previous assessor. We believe that most, if not all houses left off the assessment roll have already been identified and remedied.

Any changes that you have made to your house - - new dishwasher, carpet, or the like - - do not affect your taxable value. The Township is only looking to confirm the information that should already be on the record card (i.e. square footage, year built, etc).

What should I do if I think my house, barn or addition has been left off the assessment roll?

If you believe your “NEW CONSTRUCTION” house or barn or addition has not been put on the assessment roll, please contact the Blendon Township Assessor for verification. Between the Township records and the Ottawa County records, the Township can verify if there was any “NEW CONSTRUCTION” put on the assessment roll as a result of a building permit taken out. If your house, barn or addition has been left off the assessment roll, correcting this will increase your taxable value.

Should I contact the Township Assessor or wait to see if my house, barn or addition is found by the Field Auditor?

If you come to the Township to report your house or barn or addition that you think might have been left off the assessment roll, the Township will add this to the assessment and the tax rolls for the “current” year and move forward from there.

If you decide not to inform the township of your house, barn or addition and it is found by the Field Auditor, the Township will be obligated to put the “NEW CONSTRUCTION” on the assessment and the tax rolls for the “current” year and also for the 2 previous years.

What is the Township's General Fund Budget?

The general fund budget is an organized financial plan projecting the revenues and the potential expenditures for those township operations that may be reasonably expected for the fiscal year.

What is the fiscal year of the Township?

The fiscal year is a period of time amounting to one year of financial accounting and because it may not coincide with the actual calendar year it is designated a fiscal year. It is the fiscal year that marks the time frame of one budget period. Blendon Township begins a fiscal year on April 1 and the fiscal year ends on March 31. Currently Blendon Township is in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

What are the projected expenses for Blendon Township in the current fiscal year?

The budget for the current fiscal year, 2009-2010 was reviewed and approved at a public hearing that was held on March 19, 2009.

Will a reduction in Township expenditures result in a lowering of my taxes?

The Township General Fund Budget is based primarily upon the millage levy granted to the Township by the County Tax Allocation Board and the revenue received from the State of Michigan by the Township for “Constitutional Revenue Sharing.” The budget expenditures are generally balanced to match these revenues. The formulas that provide these revenues are not under the control of the Township Board but rather the State of Michigan and Ottawa County.

How much of my total property tax contributes to the Township general fund for operations?

The amount of an annual tax bill that contributes to the general fund will vary greatly from one parcel to another due to the large variances among parcels in valuation and taxable value. A typical home in Blendon Township with a market value of approximately $206,000 would probably have an assessed value of $103,000 and might have a taxable value of approximately $77,000. Currently the owner of such a home would pay approximately $74 of their total annual property tax to support the general fund of the township.

I heard that recently the Township board established a Compensation Commission. What is that?

A Compensation Commission is a body created by ordinance under Michigan law for the purposes of determining the appropriate level of compensation for the elected Township officials.

How was the current level of compensation for Township officials previously determined?

Michigan law provides that “the salary for officers composing the township board shall be determined by the township board.”[MCL 41.95 (3)] In Blendon, as in many other townships, the Township Board approves a resolution prior to the fiscal year which establishes the salaries for the next fiscal year.

Who is the Compensation Commission and how do they set the Township officials salaries?

The Compensation Commission is a 5 member commission of independent township electors who serve for five years. The first appointment is for one year and the second is for 2 years and so forth. This way there is a constant rotation of personnel on this commission but yet it retains continuity. This compositional procedure is required under Michigan law. These members receive no compensation and may not be the elected officials, related to the elected officials or be an employee of a government agency. Michigan law provides that these members are to be appointed by the supervisor and subject to confirmation by a majority of the members elected and serving on the township board. The law also requires that all appointments be made and confirmed within 30 days of the effective date of the ordinance.

When does the Compensation Commission meet and what do they decide?

The Compensation Commission is required by Michigan law to meet for no more than 15 days within a 45 day time frame and only on odd numbered years (2009, 2011 etc). “The Commission shall determine the salary of each elected member of the township board, which shall be effective at the beginning of the next fiscal year.” [MCL 41.95 (4, b)]