As many of you know, the Townships, per the advice of Attorney Bryan Graham, are entertaining the idea of a per front foot assessment district rather than the per parcel assessment district that many of you agreed to when you sent in your petitions.
PLM has forwarded information to the SMLA Board which addresses this issue. According to Jason Broekstra from PLM …ALL 200 Special Assessment Districts that PLM has either established or worked closely with are based on a PER PARCEL ASSESSMENT. Jason also called another colleague and that company also manages the SADs on a PER PARCEL BASIS. Neither company could recall any SAD running on a per front foot basis and between both companies manage 90% of the SADs in the State.
BreAnne Grabill of PLM further elaborated in her email to Ken Shaner, SMLA president; Although parcel sizes may change, the theory (per parcel) is strongly supported as everyone has the same USE of the lake (100′ of frontage vs 1000′) and therefore should support the program the same. In theory, if you charged by the foot, some residents would have to pay considerably more than others and when the program includes treating offshore areas, everyone has equal access to offshore areas. Further, some people do not use the lake. Therefore, by charging by the parcel, everyone is paying equally regardless as to how much they use the lake, but based on their ability to use the lake (i.e. access).
Jason added that Township Act 188 allows for the SAD and the Michigan Tax Tribunal supports the one parcel=one unit basis for the lake project. He furthers states that if a SAD were set up on a frontage basis, a large landowner would be able to easily protest the increased assessment amount to the tribunal since he has the same USAGE benefit of the lake as any other small residential parcel.
The SMLA will be working closely with PLM over the next few days and will keep everyone informed as to the next step. Meanwhile please review the steps used by PLM titled ‘SETTING UP SPECIAL ASSESSMENT DISTRICTS FOR LAKE MANAGEMENT IN TOWNSHIPS’ for further information. A copy is being provided to both Townships as well.