Saugatuck Officials Refute "Facts" By Business Owner Regarding Taxes, Assessment District
In her critique of what she said was the City of Saugatuck’s “very poor job in clearing snow and ice from sidewalks”, downtown business owner Catherine Simon declared:
“The city (officials) gave several excuses for their inability to clear city walks and the only solution offered was to create a special assessment district.
“The downtown area is already a special assessment district as business owners pay a higher tax on commercial property.
“Additionally, the city (officials) should adopt their own suggestion and engage a private contractor when there is an equipment failure, staffing issues or an inordinate amount of snow. Excuses do not negate your responsibility.”
Simon’s comments - read from a prepared statement - were made at Monday’s Saugatuck City Council meeting.
But city leaders refute Simon’s beliefs about who pays more taxes in the municipality.
Additionally, they added, Simon is wrong when she says the downtown area is a special assessment district.
Business owners do not pay a higher tax on commercial property, according to city officials.
In his own prepared statement following Monday’s meeting, Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier responded with:
“The downtown area in Saugatuck is currently not a special assessment district and business owners do not pay a higher tax rate on commercial property as you indicated.
“All properties in the City of Saugatuck are assessed according to value (ad valorem) and all properties, regardless of classification, pay the same millage rate.
“The city’s operating millage rate has stayed the same for the last six years at 12 mills (one of the lowest in Allegan County).
“Also starting in 2014, the State of Michigan has revised the personal property tax law and businesses are eligible to be exempt from paying personal property tax.
Therefore, most businesses in the city actually had a part of their overall tax burden reduced,” said Harrier.