Alpena County sees slight drop in taxable value

ALPENA – Alpena County is looking at a loss of $59,460 in tax revenue according to Equalization Director John Hippensteel, who gave his annual report Tuesday.

Hippensteel said the county experienced a 1.85 percent drop in overall equalized value and 1.38 in taxable value. He said the total or real and equalized value is $1,003,154,040 and is the smallest decline since 2010. Hippensteel said the most significant reason there was a loss in tax funds was due to a pair of new laws that took effect in Michigan.

“You have to take into account that this year we started the elimination of personal property tax to anything under $40,000 for commercial property. It has been removed from the tax roll,” Hippensteel said. “We also now have the veterans exemption, so any veteran, who fits the qualifications, was removed from the role as well.”

The gap between taxable and equalized values continues to narrow. In 2008 there was a 24.44 percent gap between the two and it has dropped to 11.99 percent for 2014. Hippensteel said there also has been a small improvement in the housing market. In 2008 the residential assessment was at $824,634,800, but dropped to $680,600,900. Hippensteel said in 2014 the total assessment for residential class properties is $684,352,050.

In other business:

* the commissioners voted to begin the process of amending the contract with the Northern Lights Arena-Community to allow the management group to do an agreed upon procedures financial review other than a full audit that was agreed upon originally. The review will take an in-depth look at the financial health of the arena and examine liabilities and financial obligations to vendors.

* the board voted to approve emergency repairs at Plaza Pool not to exceed $20,000.

* the commissioners approved the ballot language for a renewal of the Veterans Affairs millage renewal and it will be on the ballot in the August election.

* the commissioners discussed the practicality of adding terrorism coverage to the county’s insurance policy. The commissioners decided the risk was so low that it would not be worth the money to pay for the added coverage. The cost of the added insurance would have been about $1,100 a year.

* the commissioners voted to authorize spending $2,000 for travel for Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Jim Klarich, who is assisting the county try to lure developers to the property at the Alpena County Regional Airport.

* the commissioners voted to begin advertising for an airport manager.

* the commissioners voted to allow the district court be allowed to fill the vacant clerk position.

* the county honored Lori Benoit, who is retiring April 30 after working for more than 25 years as a corrections officer at the jail. Sheriff Steve Kieliszewski read the resolution of tribute and Benoit received a round of applause from those at the meeting.

* the commissioners voted to approve a new wage scale for the county clerk’s chief deputy and clerk’s office deputy.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.