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Tax trouble for treasurer



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April 25, 2012 - Michael Powell of Independence Township brought to light a property tax error by Clarkston School Board Treasurer Steve Hyer to illustrate a point.

"Hyer's lack of ethics lately really bothered me – I figure he was long past due for an extensive checkup," Powell said. 

Powell's issues include Hyer's interview with a Detroit radio station in which he didn't follow school board protocols he supported, as well as the proposed $20 million bond proposal including a one-mill increase in property taxes.

An Internet search of public property tax records showed the problem – Hyer, also past president of the school board, and his wife claimed an extra tax break meant for homeowners.

"His tax payments should have been much higher. My wife and I are looking at homes so we know what the prices are for non-homestead versus homestead," Powell said. "Inquiring into the local taxing authority confirmed my suspicions of how these properties are homesteaded – all public and easily available to anyone who asks."

Hyer and his wife, Kelly, moved from Bluewater Drive to Lost Pines Drive in Springfield Township in 2011.

However, they claimed both homes as their homestead that year. According to state law, homeowners get an exemption from the local 18-mill school operating millage, but can only claim one homestead at a time.

Hyer said the error was inadvertent and it was fixed in February, 2012.

"If my wife filing a non-homestead tax form late after we moved is somehow news, so be it," Hyer said. "The proper paper work was filed months ago and there is no further or past issue at this point."

Powell said he checked other board members' property records, too.

"I checked them all out – it's easy," he said. "It's all public information."

– Phil Custodio

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