(WJBK) - Thousands of Detroit homeowners will see changes in their property tax bills after the city completed its largest home re-appraisal in decades - and it may help some families stay in their homes.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan unveiled the big news for homeowners in the Motor City on Monday and says that for the first time in more than half a century, all of Detroit's residential properties have been evaluated.
"Turns out that when people feel they're being assessed fairly, they pay their taxes," Duggan said. "For the first time in 60 years, all 255,000 residential parcels in the city of Detroit have been individually assessed."
It took three years to do all the evaluations using high resolution aerial photos, street level images, and field visits - but the assessed every home in Detroit. This is in contrast to previous years when the assessment was based on averages in different sections of the city, which would result in incorrect assessments and tax foreclosures for thousands of people.
The city has trimmed assessments over the last three years and says, this year, 94% of property owners will see their taxes increase or decrease by less than 10%.
"Those who are seeing a cut will see an average cut of $263 and those are seeing an increase will only see an average increase of $80," Duggan said.
All told, 140,000 homeowners could have their property taxes lowered while 112,000 could be facing an increase, according to the Associated Press.
The Mayor says the city's tax revenue is on the rise, and property values are going up - but legislation is keeping taxes from increasing too much. For people like Maggie Williams, that's good news for the home she's lived in for 50 years.
"Nobody likes to see their property tax go up but when you feel that the neighborhood is secure or stable, you don't mind paying an extra $100 or whatever for taxes," Williams said.
City officials say they don't want anyone to lose their home. They also want people who fall below the poverty line and disabled veterans to know they do not have to pay property taxes but they have to fill out the proper paperwork to be exempt.
"Please fill out the forms - we don't want anybody to have to pay taxes that should not be paying them and most of all we don't want anybody to lose their home," Detroit City Councilman George Cushingberry said.
Exemption forms are available on the city's website. CLICK HERE to find the form.
Tax bills won't be sent out until June and residents can be appeal their assessment to the board of review starting Wednesday.