Property Tax Relief Programs Seen As ‘Bandaid’

Even with the city having $6 million in a property-tax overassessment program, homeowners and advocates said that it’s simply not enough.

The monies, according to Axios Detroit, “will create 50% discounts for affected homeowners toward the purchase of Land Bank auction houses or side lots.

“Those homeowners will also get hiring preference for city jobs they qualify for and for existing city initiatives, including a down payment assistance program and a home repair program for senior citizens and those who have disabilities,” the publication reported.

However, the set-aside funds are seen as a “bandaid” in light of the $600 million overassessment that ended with several residents losing their dwellings to property-tax foreclosures. A slew of them happened between 2009 and 2016.

“We think it is a fraction of the money that is owed to Detroiters and taxpayers from the time of the overassessment,” Scott Holiday, political director of housing justice nonprofit Detroit Action, told Axios.

Local organizations attempted to assist homeowners recover from the taxing mess for the egregious overtaxing with such programs as including Pay As You Stay, which reduces past due property taxes, and the Homeowners Property Exemption.

What the city can’t legally do, according to its attorneys, is write a check to the affected residents “as restitution, Axios said.

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