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Township assessments at county averages, better days forecast

February 03, 2010 - Atlas Twp.-The state equalization value of residential property dropped by 14 percent in the township, just below the county average of 15 percent, according to a report issued late last month by the Genesee County Equalization Department.

The assessment was calculated by comparing property sales amounts from Oct.1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009. The SEV is half of a property's market value. The tax bill is calculated by multiplying the property taxable value by the community's millage rate. One mill is equal to $1 for $1,000 of property value.

Carrie Bock, township assessor, said the information is only a snapshot for across the county.

"Nothing right now is selling in the community," said Bock. "Keep in mind that the 14 percent decline is an average across the township, some homes will decline more, some less. It appears the communities with older homes have declined less than communities with newer homes."

The dip in home value, businesses and other property in Genesee County in the coming fiscal year will generate millions less in property taxes and prompt even deeper cuts in local and county government services. The range of significant fluctuations in assessments countywide include the City of Mt. Morris, which dropped 26 percent, and Mt. Morris Township, which dipped 20.4 percent the. In contrast Thetford Township declined by 3 percent the least in Genesee County..

In nearby Grand Blanc Township the SEV declined by 16.8 percent and Davison Township dropped by 12.6 percent.

In comparison the SEV dropped by 24.15 percent in Groveland Township and declined by 18.26 in Brandon Township according to a report issued by the Oakland County Equalization Department. In Oakland County the SEV dropped by 15.5 percent.

Michael G. Ortiz, the Genesee County's acting equalization director said any significant change in assesments will take time.

"Genesee County is hit a lot harder than most communities in the country due to an economy based on the auto industry," he said. "It's going to take longer to recover, however, there will be a slow down in the decline in the next few years."

"There's a lot of factors goes into the assessment numbers and it does not include business or industrial property," he said. "Also not every property owners is going to drop by that amount—the numbers are blended out to each parcel."

Atlas Township took a hit last year too," said Ortiz. "A driving force in the decline are the larger up scale homes—it's a lot harder to find a buyer than small lower priced homes. The sagging economy including fewer jobs makes it more difficult to buy or sell larger homes."

Ortiz projects that countywide SEV will decline by 9.5 percent in 2011.

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