The Michigan Department of Treasury released on May 3rd an “assessing reform proposal” that is intended to be introduced in the Legislature prior to its summer break. The stated goal of the proposed legislation is to improve the assessment profession through quality control. As drafted, the proposed bill could force many small assessing districts to “consolidate” their assessing departments, either with other assessing districts or under the county’s umbrella.
For an assessing district that does not use county assessing services, the State Tax Commission (“STC”) would mandate “substantial compliance” with various “quality standards,” including requiring the assessor of record to have attained either MMAO(4) or MAAO(3) level certification, to be responsible for assessing a certain minimum number of parcels and generated tax revenue (with some exceptions), and to provide full time service to an assessing district as an employee or contractor (with some exceptions).
An assessing district would also need to meet STC requirements related to record keeping, local boards of review, and assessment roll preparation. In particular, each assessing district would be required to utilize a Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system that is approved by the STC, follow STC policy regarding public inspection and audits of assessing records and compliance with the quality standards, maintain reasonable office hours and availability (including by telephone and email), and provide online access to taxpayers related to their property. The proposal would also permit the creation of regional and specialized boards of review.
Local units of government could meet the “quality standards” by using their own dedicated assessor of record that meets the quality standards, by sharing an assessor of record with other local units, or having the county provide assessing services.