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City Assessor

Assessing Department update


Please call or email for any questions or concerns:

Voicemail and emails are monitored

231-922-4450 *

If you need to drop off documents for the Assessing Department, please drop
them in the red box out front, next to USPS mailbox, clearly marked Assessor.

All Governmental Center Appointments visitors be advised that they will need to:

 -Wear a mask within the building
- Are feeling healthy and not running a temperature
- Will answer the COVID Screening Questionnaire upon arrival

The Traverse City market place has proven resiliency through past economic challenges. Our area is a beautiful, desirable, and vibrant city, with devoted property residents and owners, who want to preserve the value of Traverse City at its best at all times.

Current 2020 assessment values and property tax bills are based on values that were established through sales analysis that occurred from April 1, 2017, through March 31, 2019. 

2021 Assessment Change Notices will be sent out mid-February 2021, which will represent the market actions based on sales from April 1, 2018, through March 30, 2020, and property status as of tax day, 12/31/2020.

Residential and commercial sales data are tracking similarly to last year's statistics for the same period in 2019, indicating an increase in overall property values.

It should be noted that real estate appraisers as well as realtors use historic sales and market data to current perform valuation services and listing price analysis.  Market reactions from April through September will be evaluated and measured for the analysis and valuation for the 2021 Assessment year.

The Assessing Department is cognizant of the current changes and will provide periodic updates for publication regarding real estate transactions for the next years (2021) Assessment cycle.

Thank you

Polly Watson Cairns -

The Assessing Department

Polly & Dave & Erik & Dan

Department Photo 2016

Dept photo - left to right - Dave (Deputy), Polly (City Assessor/Dept. Head), Erik (Senior Appraiser), & Dan (Property Appraiser).


231-922-4450 *

Phone calls and emails are checked periodically each workday.

If you need to drop off documents please either send through email, mail, or drop in the red box out front near the mailbox, and make sure it is addressed to the Assessing Department.


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). 

City of Traverse City Tax Map Parcel Viewer

BS&A Online record search

Property Tax Estimator


Grand Traverse County Equalization Reports & Millages

Leelanau County Equalization Millage Information

State of Michigan - Property Tax Estimator

Millage Rates-State of Michigan


City Assessing Department staff continually 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 survey sheet will be left at the property. We request you complete the form and return it at your earliest convenience.  

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

Thank you for your cooperation.


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

Department compiles the annual assessment roll 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, PRE aka homestead applications, property transfers, and personal property tax law
    • Enhance and increase understanding of and compliance with the property tax system as established by City charter and State law.

What is the 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 to set the Assessed Value at 50% of the True Cash Value for each class of property. True Cash Value of a property which is synonymous with market value.

The final SEV established for a 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 the 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 the 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. 

                                               Bulletin 15 of 2019 - Inflation Rate Multiplier.

What is Taxable Value?

Taxable Value is determined by the lower of the Assessed Value or the Capped Value. Properties that transferred ownership in 2017 will have the Taxable Value set to Assessed Value for the 2018 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

Exemption of Real Estate for Veteran with Service-Connected Disability

Property Assessment & Tax Search (BS&A Software)

Michigan Taxes - Property Taxes

Michigan's 2018 average non-PRE property tax rate was 55.80 mills, and 37.80 mills for PRE per $1,000 of Taxable value, with real and personal property subject to taxation at 50% of current market value.


Compare property tax rates in your Michigan county_MLIVE


This page last updated on 9/16/2020.