Tax Assessment Gets Hearing Date

June 6, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — City commissioners have set June 24 as the public hearing date for a special tax assessment that affects property owners in the Downtown Improvement District, which covers most of downtown.

Should commissioners approve the assessment, something the board has done since 2001, revenue from the levy is expected to reach about $885,000 during the coming fiscal year that begins July 1.

“Trying to keep our assessments in line is the challenge,” said Ray Kisor, DID president.

“Property owners are paying an additional tax,” he added.

Downtown Alliance Executive Director Sharon Evoy said the revenue figure represents a 5.3 percent increase in the total assessment. But because new properties have been added to the assessment district, individual assessments are expected to rise by 3 or 4 percent from last year. She also said the cost to keep downtown clean has risen over the past year, an increase led by higher gas prices.

About $610,000 of the total assessment will go to the maintenance and beautification of downtown, the marketing of the district and for special projects. Kisor said the maintenance work includes picking up about 2,300 pounds of trash and litter from the streets each week, while the beautification program includes installing and maintaining 80 planters throughout the district.

Another $187,000 will be spent to operate and maintain the Monroe Center snowmelt system and $87,000 will go to the new Louis Campau Promenade snowmelt system.

“We’ve agreed to take on the Louis Campau Promenade, and that will start this summer,” said Kisor, a commercial real estate executive with Grubb & Ellis|Paramount Commerce.

The DID budget is $877,800 for the fiscal year.

A property’s land area, building area, street frontage and parking area get assessed in this levy, whether a structure is occupied or vacant. A basement is assessed if it is occupied. New buildings under construction aren’t assessed until an occupancy permit is issued. Buildings being renovated are assessed as if the work were completed.

All properties in the district are assessed, even if normally exempt from property taxes, except for government sites and some residential parcels.

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