Property taxes, we all pay them. Here’s a breakdown

Mayor of Riverview, Michigan - Andrew Swift

Andrew Swift

My fellow Riverview residents, Covid-19 continues to influence our daily lives. But if we are smart about where we go, what we do, and how we do it, we can lead a somewhat normal life.  

The City of Riverview still recommends following all the CDC Guidelines.

This column will be focusing on where all those taxes go that you pay twice a year.  

One of the comments heard most often from residents is “I pay a lot in taxes every year, what do you do with it?”

There isn’t one resident who feels they don’t pay enough in property taxes. The reality is that our property taxes are just starting to approach what they were 12 years ago in 2008. The huge loss in property taxes was devastating to cities and townships. But, we’ve made it through and we are doing our best to provide all the services residents expect and deserve.  

Two of the more important services are ambulance and fire protection. That is why we have a Public Safety Millage on this November’s ballot. 

The city has the dubious responsibility of being the “tax collector.”  We get to do the dirty work for all the taxing authorities from the state, county, community college, intermediate school district, local schools, and finally our city. 

After looking at our own tax bill my wife and I were a little shocked at all the different entities that have their hand in the pot.  

Your property tax bill will be different than ours with the value of your home being the determining factor. I won’t bore you with all the individual entries on your tax bill but I will list the major ones.  

Besides the City of Riverview, the tax dollars collected go to the Riverview Community School District, the State of Michigan, Wayne County and RESA Intermediate School District.

The passage of Proposal A back in March of 1994 dramatically changed the way property assessments and taxation were done. The language in Proposal A states that beginning in 1995 the taxable assessment can be increased only by the amount of the Consumer Price Index or 5 percent, whichever is less.  

It didn’t do anything to address the impact to municipalities when property values decline as quickly as they did in 2008/2009.  

I don’t pretend to understand all the influences in determining how home values are calculated, but I do know what my tax bill is.

Starting with the 2020 Summer tax bill that we just paid, the total amount was $3,501.67.  Of that amount, $601.22 went to the State of Michigan, $565.98 to Wayne County, $267.96 to Riverview Community Schools, and $2,066.51 to the City of Riverview. This gives the city just under 60% of the total paid.

Looking back at the Winter 2019 Tax Bill our total was $1,496.82.  Of that amount, $681.28 went to Wayne County (and you thought you were done paying county taxes), $537.32 to Wayne RESA Intermediate School District, $263.41 to the Riverview Community School District, and a thundering $14.81 to the City of Riverview. As you can see, less than one percent came to the city.

To recap, of the $4,998.49 that we paid to the City of Riverview, only about 42 percent or $2,081.32 stays with the city.

Hopefully you agree that for slightly over $2,000 we enjoy many city services. We get 24 hour police and fire protection, our streets get plowed when it snows, our garbage gets picked up, we have street lights, parks and recreation programs, senior programs, grass cutting (most of the time),  boat ramp use, golf course, library and many other benefits. Sure, some will pay more and some will pay less, it all depends on the value of your home.

One comment I hear from people who moved here is that my taxes are so high here. 

Once the property is transferred, the assessor must change the taxable value to 50 percent of the property’s current market value. Another point to remember is that the purchase price of the home is only one factor in determining the value of the home. Another point that is extremely important in my opinion is that if you’re paying more in taxes here it is because the home you purchased here is worth more.

To bring this to a close, it would be appropriate to let you know that the city of Riverview’s millage rate of 47.88 is amongst the lowest Downriver. 

Based on Wayne County 2017 Millage Rates the only municipalities with lower rates than Riverview are townships.  

This means that for every $1,000 of home value, the homeowner will pay $47.88. A few examples are Southgate at 57.31, Trenton 55.81, Woodhaven 53.37 and Wyandotte at 54.32.

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