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City Assessor

Assessing Department

Polly Watson Cairns -

     Assessing Department Team - 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).
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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

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Grand Traverse County Equalization Reports & Millages

Leelanau County Equalization Millage Information

State of Michigan - Property Tax Estimator

Millage Rates-State of Michigan


PROPOSAL A: RETROSPECTIVE: SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM IN MICHIGAN

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.  

The Department reviews a portion of the properties in the City every year. This process includes:

  • Updating the exterior photo of the property
  • Reviewing aerial photos
  • Reviewing the condition of the structure

Staff also inspects property for new construction, remodeling, or demolition. An appraiser may request a full inspection if there are physical changes made to the property.

Why do we do this?

Assessors are responsible to assess all property in the City at 50% of fair market value. This includes commercial, industrial, and residential properties, vacant land, and personal property. To meet the standards of the State Tax Commission, the Assessing Department reviews a portion of the properties every year. This allows the City to keep accurate records.

The 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. The true Cash Value of a property 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 are correlated through the Income Approach.

What is State Equalized Value?

State Equalized Value (SEV) is the 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. 

What is Taxable Value?

Taxable Value is determined by the lower of the Assessed Value or the Capped Value. Properties that transferred ownership will have the Taxable Value set to Assessed Value for the following calendar 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 www.michigan.gov/taxes/0,1607,7-238-43535_43540---,00.html


Property Assessment & Tax Search (BS&A Software)

Michigan Taxes - Property Taxes

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This page last updated on 7/15/2021.