Duggan unveils plan to help homeowners over-billed by inflated tax assessments

click to enlarge Houses on Detroit's east side. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Houses on Detroit's east side.

Tens of thousands of Detroit homeowners who were over-taxed because of inflated property value assessments would be eligible for discounted, city-owned properties and given priorities for jobs, affordable housing, and other government assistance under a plan announced by Mayor Mike Duggan on Tuesday.

Five of Detroit’s nine city council members co-sponsored the plan, which they plan to introduce Tuesday.

Under the proposal, homeowners who were over-taxed between 2010 and 2013 would be eligible for the perks until the end of 2024.

The city has acknowledged it over-assessed the value of homes during that period, causing inflated property tax bills that are to blame for a crushing wave of foreclosures. Duggan does not plan to offer a rebate.

It’s unclear how many homeowners were impacted, but the city shaved off nearly one billion dollars from tax bills when property values were readjusted.

The impact of over-assessed properties was widespread and devastating. Between 2010 and 2016, the city over-billed homeowners by at least $600 million, or an average of $3,800 per home, according to a Detroit News investigation. The review of 173,000 Detroit homes found that more than 92% were over-assessed during that period.

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

Here are the perks under consideration:

• 50% discount on auctioned houses or side lots purchased from the Detroit Land Bank Authority;
• Preference for city jobs;
• Children and grandchildren of eligible residents will be given a priority for summer jobs through the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program;
• Preferential access to job services through Detroit at Work;
• Preferential enrollment in the city’s Rehab Academy;
• Preferential enrollment in the senior home retrofit program;
• Preference for affordable housing.

The perks are expected to cost about $6 million.

Under the plan, the Office of the Assessors will determine eligibility based on property records.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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