Salted with Sharks

Our New Tax Assessor: Barbie Eaton

In Gilmore Township, Gov't Watch, Housekeeping, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron on May 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

In late April this year, Marvin Blackford, longtime tax assessor for Frankfort, Gilmore Township, and Crystal Lake, retired, and Gilmore and Frankfort contracted with Barbie Eaton of Brown and Associates. Ms. Eaton kindly took the time to answer a few questions about her new position.

1. What is the role of the tax assessor? My job is to determine value for property in accordance to Michigan tax laws. To do this I use cost estimates, sales, and, when appropriate, income statistics (for commercial and industrial properties, mostly). I also handle the paperwork for various exemptions, including: Principle Residence Exemption (PRE), Veteran Exemptions, and Poverty Exemptions, to name a few.

2. What is NOT the role of the tax assessor?  I cannot tell you what your actual tax bill will be, nor can I see if you have paid your taxes. I also cannot tell you what the amount of tax was that you were billed for. I can estimate tax amounts based on the taxable value of the property and the millage rate, but the [Village/Township] treasurer is the one who actually handles the tax bills/money.

3. When are the Board of Review meetings for 2014/15, and what is their purpose? The Board of Review meets in March to hear protests of the assessed value from residents. In order to protest to the Michigan Tax Tribunal you MUST first attend the Board of Review in March. The purpose of these meetings is to ensure that assessments are fair and equitable. The assessment rate in the state of Michigan is 50%, which means that your assessed value should reflect roughly 50% of the True Cash Value (a.k.a Market Value). The Board of Review also meets in July and December to correct qualified errors.  

4. Who sits on the Board of Review?  I haven’t met the Gilmore board yet, but I can give you the general guidelines of who can be on the Board of Review. It’s a three-member committee that meets three times a year. All three members must be registered to vote in the township and at least two thirds must be property owners. The Board of Review is part of the checks and balances system to property taxes.  The assessor certifies the roll, the Board of Review then reviews the roll and hears protests from property owners before they certify the roll. [Bob Delanoye and Ken Holmes were named to the Gilmore Board of Review at the Gilmore Township meeting in February. Carl Noffsinger, as township supervisor, also sits on the board.]

5. What do you like best about your job?  This job gives me flexibility to work around my family’s schedule. I also enjoy being able to help people better understand our property tax system here in Michigan.  

6. What can we as a community (Elberta/Gilmore) do to create a good working relationship with you and make your job easier?  We will be coming around this summer to do physical inspections of the township. We never have to come into your home; all our measurements are done on the outside. Please allow my field staff to do their job and take a picture and verify measurements. My field staff will have picture IDs and will knock on the door before checking measurements. If you are not home when we come to your house we will leave an orange tag on your door with our office phone number so you may contact us if you have any questions. We will not measure a home that has only children there. If you ever have questions please feel free to contact my office.

We have a website with some really helpful information about Michigan property tax laws and exemptions. You can also find some personal information there about me and my office and field staff. Contact me at 1-888-714-9288 or barbie.eaton@gmail.com. I will be holding office hours at the City of Frankfort on Thursday mornings from 9:30-12:30, otherwise my Ludington office is usually open Monday–Friday 9 am–4 pm.

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