By Charles Sercombe
According to the Wayne County Assessor’s Office, Hamtramck house values dropped by 10.5 percent.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean your property tax bill will also decrease, said Hamtramck Assessor Tony Fuoco.
“Proposal A could throw a monkey wrench into what you pay,” Fuoco said in reference to a 1994 law that put a cap on how much tax values can increase as well as decrease.
When property values skyrocket, Proposal A protects homeowners from having to pay a huge increase in taxes. But when property values go down, Proposal A protects municipalities from losing a huge revenue source from property taxes.
Even with a cap in place, the 2008 housing meltdown eventually translated into a loss of $1 million in tax collection for the city, said former Finance Director Nevrus Nazarko.
Also, Fuoco said, a general increase or decrease in housing values does not apply to every single household. Some houses can go up in value while others around them go down, perhaps because they are special or unique in some way.
No matter what, house owners have a right to contest their property assessments this month at the annual Board of Review. By now, property owners should have received a notice of this year’s house assessment.
The Board of Review will meet on March 18, 20 and 21. You can schedule a hearing by calling the Assessor’s Office at (313) 870-0325. You can also make an appeal by mail, by sending it to: Assessor’s Office, 3401 Evaline, Hamtramck MI 48212.
Fuoco said it’s not unusual for homeowners to fight for even minor reductions. But that comes at a cost for the city, he said.
“Some people would rather lose a police officer or firefighter than pay 10 cents more,” he said.