Someone I know recently received their winter 2021 property tax bill for Kalamazoo County. When they opened their beaks, their jaws dropped. What they saw was that one of the county taxes went up about 764%, yes you read that right the tax went up 764%.
What tax? It was the departmental housing tax. Let’s go back to the Kalamazoo County Winter 2020 Property Tax Returns. On this tax return, the Kalamazoo County housing tax rate was 0.09930 thousandths. The person I know who lives in Kalamazoo County taxed his property for that mileage rate was $ 11.73. Now let’s turn a year later to the 2021 Kalamazoo County winter property tax returns. On this tax return, the Kalamazoo County housing tax rate was 0.74850 thousandths. The tax on this same property has increased from $ 11.73 to $ 89.71. That’s an increase of $ 77.98 or 764%.
Yes, the people of Kalamazoo County voted for a 764% tax increase on themselves.
DDid the people of Kalamazoo County realize they voted for a 764% tax hike? Not the way the county represented the tax increase on a fact sheet it provided to the public or on the ballot. The following was the wording of the ballot regarding this 764% tax increase.
Is it the Kalamazoo County official’s fault for the tax increase, not really? Anyone could have researched the ballot issue and determined that he was calling for an extremely large cash tax increase in his budget.
Is it the fault of the Kalamazoo County official for not presenting to the public the real tax increase of this mileage in any of their official documents on this tax increase that they distributed to the public?
It’s up to you to decide. If you decide that they were misleading in their presentation of the tax increase, then ask yourself what are you going to do about it. Will you ever vote for another Kalamazoo County tax hike?
My question is not whether the incredibly large tax increase was justified or necessary. The question is whether Kalamazoo County officials should have been more candid about the real increase. For example, in the official documentation they presented to the voting public, they could have written that the increase in mileage would go from .09930 to .74850 / 0.75000. I couldn’t find the mileage rate of 0.09930 in any of the official documents they presented to residents of Kalamazoo County.
Another question is: Would the mileage increase have been exceeded if the voting public were aware of the 764% increase?