Is it possible for a tax bill to go up when property values are heading downward?
Just wait until your property assessment statement arrives. You might see it happen.
Marty Marshall, director of Lenawee County Equilization Department, reminds property owners that taxes are based on the taxable value, a figure that related to the consumer price index (CPI)—the annual rate of inflation.
The CPI is calculated in Lansing based on a fiscal year that ends in September. In the next year, Marshall said, the inflation rate is expected to hit a record low, but that won’t help for current values.
The CPI takes into effect the high gasoline prices of the past year and the inflation rate came in at 4.4 percent.
Proposal A, approved by voters in 1994, caps the rate of the taxable value increase to no more than five percent each year. This was done to provide a more predictable and stable increase to tax bills.
The taxable value will increase each year by the CPI until it reaches the State Equalized Value (SEV), which is 50 percent of the true cash value of a property.
Any property that had a taxable value less than the SEV in 2008 will be increased by 4.4 percent until it reaches the SEV.
That’s no comfort to the owners of property with a decreasing value, although property that’s declining in value should show a change in the SEV portion of assessment notices.
Morenci is one area of the county where the SEV now exceeds 50 percent which will result in in lowering the value. The multiplier listed for Morenci lowers SEV by -5.6 percent. In Seneca, the multiplier is -6.5 percent and in Medina Township it’s -3.7 percent (see chart below).
Notices should arrive in the mail soon to show changes in the SEV and the taxable assessments. Property owners will have the opportunity to challenge assessments at the annual board of review.
Morenci’s board will meet at city hall March 12. The tax roll will be open for public inspection March 3, 4 and 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and again on March 12.