Contact the City of Traverse City Twitter IconFacebook IconWeather Icon

City Home > Departments > City Assessor

City Assessor

Department Photo 20162017 Assessment Change Notices have been mailed - please call if you have not received your notice.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your notice please call prior to March Boarch of Review.
(March 13th & 14th, 2017, Monday 9am-3pm, and Tuesday 3pm-9pm.

Click on the upper left hand corner for more information on reading your Assessment Change Notice

Thank you!

The Assessing Department is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the City's assessment rolls for all assessable property, both real and personal, located within the City limits for Grand Traverse & Leelanau Counties.

Assessment and taxable value determinations are made in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 211 of the Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL), otherwise known as the "General Property Tax Act" (often referred to as the GPTA). If you have any questions about the GPTA, please stop by or call. 

City of Traverse City Tax Parcel Viewer

Grand Traverse County Millage Information link

City Assessing Department staff is in the field updating property record card information, photos, and sketches; performing onsite property inspections for the City’s commercial, industrial, and residential neighborhoods.  

State Tax Commission recommends all properties be re-inspected every 5 years to update property information and assure more accurate and equitable assessments.

For property owners not at home, a property property survey sheet will be left at the property.  We asked that you complete the form and return at your earliest convenience.  

Thank you for your cooperation.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.  231.922-4450

BS&A Assessing data


City Assessing Department is responsible for the inventory of all property within the City and for valuation and maintaining property record information of all property both real property (land and buildings) and personal (tangible). It operates under the requirements of the General Property Tax Law which was originally P.A. 206 of 1893; Statutes can be found under MCL 211.1 through MCL 211.157.    Primarily responsible for performing and maintaining property assessments for the equitable distribution of property tax burden.

Department compiles the annual assessment role on which taxes will be levied; maintaining property tax descriptions and maps, processes personal property statements, and conducts field audits of both existing properties and new construction located within the City of Traverse City. In addition, providing the City Treasurer with taxable value on all City properties, used to produce annual tax bills.

    • Establish legal assessment roll and annually site visit 20% property
    • Review and evaluate commercial and industrial property
    • Site visit and review all new construction
    • Continue public education in areas such as non-consideration forms, homestead applications, property transfers and personal property tax law
    • Enhance and increase understanding of and compliance with property tax system as established by City charter and State law.

What is Assessed Value?

Assessed Value shall not exceed 50% of the True Cash Value (aka Market Value) of the property.  Mass appraisal techniques are used to determine the true cash value of each property every year and set the Assessed Value at 50% of the True Cash Value. True Cash Value of a property which is synonymous with market value.

The final SEV established for property, dependent upon property class, is a compilation and reconciliation of the Cost Approach, Sales Comparison, and Income Approach to value.  A cost to construct is estimated for the property, which is then reconciled to market, by application of the ECF (Economic Condition Factor).  Income producing type properties, i.e. Commercial/Industrial, go a step further and correlated through the Income Approach.

What is State Equalized Value?

State Equalized Value (SEV) is final Assessed Value after the County and State completed their equalization processes and certified Assessed and Taxable Values. Typically, the SEV is the same as the Assessed Value.

What is Capped Value?

Capped Value is a calculation of the previous year’s Taxable Value multiplied by the Inflation Rate Multiplier and adjusted for any physical changes in the property. The inflation rate multiplier is based on a two year average of Consumer Price Index CPI, the Inflation Rate Multiplier for 2015 is 1.016, same as previous year.

What is Taxable Value?

Taxable Value is determined by the lower of the Assessed Value or the Capped Value. Properties that transferred ownership in 2016 will have the Taxable Value set to Assessed Value for the 2017 tax year. Taxable Value is the basis of the property tax in Michigan and is multiplied by the millage rate to determine the tax amount each year. State of Michigan - Property Tax Estimator and Millage Rates link -,1607,7-238-43535_43540---,00.html

How Property Taxes Work

Property Assessment & Tax Search (BS&A Software)

Michigan Taxes - Property Taxes

Rates for 2015 will be posted in August 2016

Michigan's 2014 average non-homestead property tax rate was 49.92 mills, or $49.92 per $1,000 of assessed property, with real and personal property subject to taxation at 50% of current market value.

In an ongoing effort to make the state a more attractive place for businesses to invest and grow, Michigan began phasing out its Personal Property Taxes for most businesses beginning in 2013. Businesses claiming the personal property tax exemption will instead be subject to a statewide special assessment, ranging from 0.9 to 2.4 mills, to fund essential services levied by local governments. Additional property tax abatements available to Michigan businesses include:

  • locally-negotiated abatements, including 100% new personal property exemptions available in specified communities for qualified commercial businesses. PA 328 Fact Sheet  
  • 50% abatements for up to 12 years on real property for industrial processors and "high tech" companies. PA 198 Fact Sheet 
  • abatements up to 100% for rehabilitation projects. PA 198 Fact Sheet 


Exemption of Real Estate for Veteran with Service Connected Disability

A Brief History of Property Tax - I.A.A.O.


  • Neighborhood Enterprise Zones

    Public Act 147 of 1992, as amended and authorized by the State of Michigan, allows specific local governments to enact Neighborhood Enterprise Zones (NEZs). The City of Lansing has approved the designation of NEZ areas within the City as Neighborhood Enterprise Zones (NEZs). The purpose of establishing NEZs in Lansing is to promote home ownership and investment in areas where the greatest impact would occur and where such improvements may trigger additional investment in adjacent neighborhoods. The benefit of the NEZ Program to property owners in these areas results in lower property taxes.

    Renaissance Zones

    Renaissance Zones were created by the State of Michigan under Public Act 376 of 1996 in order to stimulate economic growth in certain urban communities. The Renaissance Zone designation exempts properties within its boundaries from all operating millage for nine years. In years ten through twelve, a quarter of the operating millage is added back so by year thirteen the properties will be back paying full property taxes. This reduction in taxes is designed to assist developers and home buyers in an area by making it more affordable to improve their properties.

     Michigan Legislature - Public Act MCL Search

This page last updated on 4/10/2017.

Contact Information
City of Traverse City
City Assessor's Department 
Governmental Cntr 1st Flr 
400 Boardman Avenue
Traverse City, MI 49684

(231) 922-4450 office
(231) 922-4479 fax

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Excluding most Federal Holidays  

E-mail the Assessing Department


Polly (Watson) Cairns
City Assessor-MMAO 
Certified General R.E. Appraiser
Personal Property Examiner

Dave Brown
Deputy City Assessor 
Certification Level - MAAO

Erik Sandy
Senior Assessor
Certification Level - MCAO

Dan Tollefson
Assessing Clerk
Certification Level - MCAO