Thursday, March 12, 2020

Sumpter trustees consider reassessment of property

Sumpter Township residents could be receiving some special visitors during the near future, if trustees agree to a plan to reassess property in the municipality.
WCA, a professional assessment firm, has proposed a reinspection and reassessment of all property in the township in an effort to update and correct outdated tax records, some of which are 30 to 40 years out of date. Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees are expected to consider the $114,540 expense to fund the reinspection and reassessment of township property at their March 24 meeting.
WCA assessor Aaron Powers said the reassessment is necessary to correct outdated records and ensure the township is in compliance with state tax commission recommendations.
He noted that it is possible the township is not collecting the correct amount of tax on properties where improvements or changes have been made during the years.
He also explained that a preliminary look at an area of the township revealed several inconsistencies in the property assessments which could be costing the township tax revenue.
Board members questioned the procedures involved in assessors' visits and noted that without proper notification of the proposed property visits, homeowners could be upset and might even deny access to the property.
Powers said that every effort will be made to publicize the reassessments which would take place during the next 48 months if approved. He said that WCA usually notifies homeowners using the municipal website, the newsletter and by word of mouth, although, he added, the law does give the assessor the right to enter the property. He said that WCA has been assessing property for decades and has experienced few problems with homeowners. He told the board that WCA could also send postcards notifying residents of the upcoming inspection. Should there be a problem, however, Powers said WCA has the ability to perform assessments using online photos of properties.
He said that the assessors from WCA all carry photo identification and wear bright yellow vests when visiting properties.
In addition, Powers said, WCA personnel will take digital photos of the properties that are revalued and that all the assessment records would be available online.
Currently, WCA, based in Westland, is the assessment firm used by 23 of the 24 Wayne County jurisdictions. According to officials, the company has assessed more than 200,000 parcels during the past several decades.
If approved, the reassessments would begin in April.