Mayor announces plan to prioritize resources for Detroiters negatively impacted by 2010-13 tax over assessments

  • A package of wealth restoring preference programs is being developed to assist Detroiters who lost homes and were negatively impacted by property tax over-assessment prior to 2014
  • The eight preference programs will be funded with resources from the FY2020 budget and require no additional tax levy on residents
  • Program identifies specific opportunity for children and grandchildren of affected homeowners
  • Preference for impacted Detroiters will remain effective until 2024

Mayor Mike Duggan has joined five co-sponsoring members of City Council to announce a comprehensive plan to recognize and prioritize Detroit homeowners negatively impacted by property tax over-assessments from 2010-2013. Today, a resolution proposing these benefits will be introduced at city council's formal session.

The four-year program establishes a priority designation in eight programs, effectively placing these Detroiters first-in-line for job consideration, senior home repair grants, affordable housing units and ownership of rehabilitated homes.

The program offers Detroiters a way to restore some of what was lost by the legacy of over-assessment and builds on efforts designed to offset the expense of these assessments.

“For many residents across Detroit home ownership is the first step in building generational wealth and economic stability, said Mayor Duggan. “Years of over assessment took that from families, and this is an effort to ensure some of what was lost is restored.

Preference for affected homeowners
To help offset losses suffered by anyone who owned houses that served as their primary residence between 2010 and 2013, residents will receive preference in eight city programs, with preference remaining in place through December 31, 2024.

  1. A 50% discount on any auction house or side lot purchased from the Detroit Land Bank Authority
  2. Preference in hiring for City employment
  3. Children and grandchildren of eligible applicants will receive priority access and placement to summer jobs through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT)
  4. Preferential access to Detroit at Work job search and career services
  5. Preferential enrollment in the city’s Rehab Academy
  6. Preferential enrollment in senior home retrofit program
  7. Preference for the occupancy of affordable units
  8. Preferential access to Financial Counseling through Detroit at Work

How affected homeowners will qualify
Affected homeowner eligibility will be determined according to the Office of the Assessor’s records. If an applicant believes they were the owner and the Assessor’s records are incorrect, the Assessor may use documents other than the property transfer affidavit to verify the applicant's ownership such as a direct relationship to the deed holder and proof that the applicant has been paying utilities for at least a year.

The program will be funded by a $6 million appropriation with one-time resources from the City’s modest Fiscal Year 2020 surplus. The remaining surplus is needed to protect core City services from further pandemic driven revenue shortfalls and to make a supplemental deposit into the Retiree Protection Fund from the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget. No additional taxes will be levied against residents to fund or cover associated costs of the program’s implementation.

Addressing over assessment before 2014
In January 2014, the administration immediately reduced residential assessments by nearly $1 billion to put an end to the over-assessments. The City invested more than $10 million was invested in a City-wide re-assessment, and funds were provided to the Office of the Assessor resources to increase staff capacity by 50%.

City Council also approved an amendment to the Detroit City Code that requires an appraisal of all residential property in the city every five years to protect Detroiters from future over-assessments.

Additional steps have been taken to reduce tax foreclosures across the city, including ending the City’s practice of placing water bills in the property tax foreclosure system in 2014; allowing delinquent taxpayers to enter into payment plans, allowing homeowners who qualify for the Homeowner’s Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP) and are at risk of foreclosure to get back their property for $1,000. In 2019, more than $5 million in property tax exemptions were provided to over 7,000 Detroiters.

In 2019, the Duggan Administration advocated for efforts in 2019 resulted in the enactment and implementation of Pay as You Stay legislation (PAYS)  and the implementation of the program in collaboration with the Wayne County Treasurer to help HPTAP eligible homeowners with delinquent taxes repay their debt. Already this year, over 3,400 homeowners have entered the PAYS program, and estimates show that PAYS has already allowed Detroiters to reduce their debt by $8M using the program.

Media Contact
John Roach
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