Source: Sherman Publications

Special assessment district policy inked,LeGault OK’d

by Susan Bromley

September 21, 2011

Brandon Twp.- The way has been paved for residents who wish to establish a special assessment district for their private road.

After “much deliberation and review,” a special assessment district sub-committee presented an S.A.D. policy to the township board in July, and at their Sept. 19 meeting, the board approved the first two S.A.D.s under the new policy— LeGault Boulevard and Upper Bushman, by 6-0 votes. Clerk Jeannie McCreery was absent.

“S.A.D.s should be used as a last resort, after (homeowners) associations have tried every means possible to handle a project on their own— whether it’s road maintenance, improvement, or whatever they would petition the township for,” said Supervisor Kathy Thurman.

of total road frontage and proof of notification of all property owners must also accompany the fee.

Additionally, a 7 percent administrative feel will be applied annually for the term of the S.A.D. Total cost of the S.A.D. will be divided equally among all parcels on the road, except where state law requires use of lineal footage or square footage. Exceptions will require board approval.

S.A.D.s will be applied to winter tax bills of the property owners encompassed within the district.

Additionally, when the township board is determining special assessment districts for private road maintenance, taken into consideration will be whether a road mainenance agreement is on file with the township and recorded with Oakland County; whether the road maintenance agreement includes all parcels listed in the S.A.D. peitition; and reasons why the road maintenance agreement is ineffective.

Ed Darbyshire, who owns vacant property on LeGault, said he was disappointed in the board’s approval of LeGault as a special assessment district and planned to appeal to the tax tribunal.

“LeGault has vacant, foreclosed homes and you are essentially raising taxes 30 percent,” he said. “As a citizen, I don’t appreciate people sticking their hands in my pockets. It’s been dcided by a board of six people to raise my taxes. It doesn’t seem right.”

The committee to look at the S.A.D. policy was formed last year after residents of two private roads approached the board requesting their roads be made special assessment districts. Residents on Shelmar Lane were approved for their S.A.D., but a third reading of a resolution to make LeGault Boulevard an S.A.D. failed.

Residents of both roads sought the S.A.D. designation out of frustration that not all of the neighbors were chipping in for maintenance of the roads.

Board members were concerned with the costs to the township of administering the S.A.D.s, as well as the amount of work that would be required of township employees to establish the special assessment districts.

Under the new policy, a $500 fee will be required at the time of petition submittal, to be held in escrow for the payment of processing costs for the S.A.D. Once expenses have been met, any remaining escrow balance will be refunded to the applicant. Escrow shortages must be paid before final determination of the special assessment district. A petition to be an S.A.D. must be signed by property owners comprising 51 percent or more