Homer Township Newsletter

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Volume XVI Issue # 1 March 2004

FROM YOUR SUPERVISOR
Let's focus on three subjects at hand: Boards of Review, Hardship Exemptions and Deferments.


1. BOARD OF., REVIEW:
March 8, Monday, 2-5 and 6-9 p.m.

March 9, Tuesday, 2-5 and 7-9 p.m.

March 10, Wednesday, 2-5 and 7-9 p.m.

Assessment appeals and qualified agricultural exemptions will be considered (Homesteads will not). The Board will meet at the Homer Township Hall.

BOARD
OF REVIEW:
July 20, Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.
Only homesteads will be considered for 2004, if you occupied your home before May 1, 2004. Two years prior will also be reviewed. Mutual errors may be corrected.

BOARD OF REVIEW:
December 14, Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.
Only homesteads will be considered for 2004 if you occupied your home before May 1, 2004. Two years prior will also be reviewed. Mutual errors may be corrected.

2. PROPERTY TAX HARDSHIP EXEMPTION:

Call me now for an application. This will give you time to have all the necessary information ready for the first day of the Board of Review on March 8, 2004. This application must be filed on a yearly basis.

3. WATER ASSESSMENT DEFERMENTS:

Call me now for the State of Michigan I s application of deferment. You must have lived in your home for 5 years and be a senior citizen 65 or older, or permanently disabled. Total household income for 2003 must be less than $19,970. The state of Michigan will put a lien on your home, pay the township the assessment, charge yearly interest and be the first lien holder on your property. This must be paid to the State

when you sell your home or upon the death of the homeowner. (The lien may be paid off at any time.) Please call me with any questions. BARB RADOSA, 835-5671


NOTES FROM THE TREASURER


I hope that all of you still here in Homer Township are surviving the winter in good shape and spirits. This winter is like winters that I recall as a youngster.

Now that the winter tax season has finished, it seems a bit early to talk about the summer tax, but that is what I will be writing about in this portion of my article. We survived last summer's collection of the SET tax but not without some uncertainties, on the part of the taxpayers and the mortgage companies. We now know that the mortgage companies will be paying the tax and that it will not appear on the winter bill. Not knowing did cause some duplicate payment attempts.

I must say at the outset, there will be a summer tax just as there was last year. It is the State that is requiring that the State Education Tax be collected in the summer. Last year the millage rate was 5 mills -- THAT IS NOT THE CASE THIS YEAR -- THE RATE WILL BE 6 MILLS.

I will be sending your tax bill on the first of July and will be sending a copy to your mortgage company. The tax is due and payable without penalty by September 14 (not September 15 as it was last year). The tax is 6 mills on your taxable value and the tax will NOT be on your winter tax bill. A summer tax bill that is not paid by September 14 will incur a 1 % interest penalty for each month or part of a month that the bill is not paid until the bill becomes delinquent on March 1 and is turned over to the County Treasurer. Summer taxes are payable in my office until March 1 of 2005,

If you applied for a deferment last year, I will send you a new form to fill out and return -- it must be done each year you want the deferment.

Deferments are available for those who qualify.
A property taxpayer may defer if their household income for the preceding calendar year did not exceed $25,000 and they meet any of the following conditions:

a) are 62 years of age or older, including the unmarried surviving spouse of a person who was 62 years of age or older at the time of death

b) are a paraplegic
or quadriplegic

c) are an eligible service person, eligible veteran, or their eligible widow or widower

d) are a blind person

e) are a totally and permanently disabled person.

f) You may also qualify if you own and operate a farming operation on property that is classified as agricultural if the gross receipts are not less than the household income of the owner.

If you are qualified, you may defer payment without penalty through February 28 of 2005. Also if you qualify, contact me for a deferment form. It must be filed with me in my office no later than September 14, 2004. Should you have any questions, call me at 631-3422.

The only day that I plan on having a scheduled office day is September 14.  I will be open from 9 am to 5 pm on that day. Please mail your payments to me in time to be in my office by September 14 to avoid interest penalty. If you would like to pay in person, please call me at 989-631-3422 and we will arrange a mutually agreeable time. I am discouraging drop-ins because I am gone quite often during the day in the summer months.

The policy regarding the mailing of receipts for paid taxes will be the same as it was for last summer's tax collection and the winter tax collection. That policy is: receipts for the payment of taxes will be mailed only when a stamped, self-addressed envelope is included with the payment. Two exceptions to the policy will be in the case of an overpayment or underpayment of the tax. Property owners whose property taxes are paid by a lender should confirm with their financial institution that their taxes have been paid. You may also call me, as has always been the case to verify the payment of the tax. You may also check the County Treasurer's on-line service to check the status of your tax payment.

Payment Policy

I encourage all taxpayers to pay their taxes with either a check or money order. Doing so protects both you and me. Mistakes are more easily and accurately corrected with a paper backup.

PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE EXEMPTION

Principal Residence exemption -- Homestead exemption. Which is it, what does it mean, and is it important to me? Your knowledge of the rules and how they apply could save you a fair sum of money in back taxes and penalties.  Some of you learned the hard way of how the rules can impact the tax status of property you own or property you acquire by the death of a parent. Some of you were audited regarding your Principal Residence status on property you own or a deceased parent's property or a parent that has had to move permanently to a nursing home.

In 2003, the Legislature passed a law changing the term Homestead to Principal Residence in order to avoid conflict with the Homestead provision in the state income tax process. What it means is, if you own your home and reside in that home, you may be eligible for the Principal Residence Exemption. You may not hold a Principal Residence Exemption on any other property. If you buy a home or build a new home, you must occupy and file a "Principal Residence Exemption" form with the Township Supervisor / Assessor by May 1 of the year of first residence. If you are moving from a home that you hold a Principal Residence Exemption, you must file a rescind of "Principal Residence Exemption II form with the Supervisor I Assessor in the location of the home. There are other situations-too numerous to mention in this column-that can cause an audit and may impact your exemption status. One situation that has come to my attention is the situation of a deceased parent and the home not being disposed of in short period of time. A rescission of exempt status must be filed if the parent passed away prior to May 1 of a given year. If you have any questions or doubts about your status-call the Township supervisor in your area.

It is important to you for a couple of reasons. If you qualify for a full exemption, your millage rate on school tax will be in the neighborhood of 6 mills; otherwise the rate is approximately 18 mills. If you qualify and don't file for the exemption, your rate will be 18 mills. For example, your taxable value is $41,412 and you qualify for the millage-your local school tax would be about $159. If you did not qualify or failed to file, your tax would be about $745; A significant impact on your tax liability.

What can you do to protect yourself? Ask questions of your realtor if you are buying an existing home intended to be your Principal Residence. Call the Supervisor/Assessor in your governmental unit if you are building a new home. The two critical factors you need to meet to qualify are you must own and you must reside in the home by May 1. Always check your tax bill for your Principal Residence status and call the Supervisor/Assessor if you believe the status reported on the bill is in error. Beyond that if you don't understand and have questions, please call.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your Board of Review notice indicates that you have 100% on your Principal Residence Exemption, YOU DO NOT NEED TO REFILE.

WATER DISTRICT INFORMATION

Water District Number 1 residents. I won't know for sure regarding the need for an additional assessment until the end of August. As of now your assessment on your tax bill in December will be:

District # 1      $407.01

Water Districts Number 3 and 4. The amount on your tax bill in December will be:
District #3        $662.42
District #4        $729.17

Water Districts Number 6 and 7. Your assessments and the amount on your tax bill in December is as follows:
District #6         $8,825   $929.78
District #7         $8,250   $869.20

For all districts; If you choose to payoff the assessment, please call me for the payoff figure for the date of payment. The figure changes each day due to the interest.

Should you have any questions or comments, I can be reached by phone at 631-3422 and by email at: ramowet@netscape.net 

I do wish each of you a very enjoyable spring and summer. AI Tew, Treasurer

FROM THE CLERK'S OFFICE


I like to inform the residents of Homer Township that at times throughout the year we are always looking for people who would like to sit on a Committee or Commission. The following will describe these positions and hopefully explain them.
PLANNING COMMISSION
Term is for three years. Job duties are to keep the zoning ordinance and master plan updated for the township. Review site plans to make sure they conform to the ordinance and are being done correctly. Meets once a month.
BOARD OF REVIEW
Term is for one year. The reason for the board of review is to check and or correct the tax assessment for the township. This board meets in March, July and December of each year, and they work in conjunction with the township assessor.
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
Term is for three years. This board acts on any variance request from the residents when what needs to be done to a property does not conform to the zoning ordinance.
WATER COMMITTEE
Term is for three years. The water committee meets once a month or when needed to keep pace with water projects. The committee works on problems that arise on water issues and updates the water ordinance when needed.

WAGE COMMISSION
Term is a rotating six year period. Meets every other year on the odd year (i.e. 2005, 2007). This commission sets the wages of the elected officials of the township

If someone in the township would like to serve in one of these positions, you can contact any of the township board members and get your name and phone number on the list.

To the voters of the township; be aware that the voting method will be changed before the end of the year. As in keeping with the qualified voter for the State of Michigan, we as a county, will be getting new voting equipment for the upcoming elections. I will be posting some information on the web page about this in the near future. The web page address is as follows: http://homer-mid.mi-twp.orq/

PLANNING COMMISSION
The Homer Township Planning Commission had an active year in 2003.

Several amendments were added to our township ordinance.
1. Allowing an accessory building to be built on a vacant lot before the main dwelling is built.
2. Allowing state licensed large and small group homes in certain districts in the township.
3. A state mandated "Open Space" ordinance was added.

Presently the planning commission is in the process of completing another amendment to allow a 50% increase to a non-conforming dwelling in the commercial district.

Additional information regarding the above mentioned amendments may be obtained from the township clerk or any member of the planning commission. ANITA SANGER, CHAIR

WATER COMMlTTEE
Hello, I am your new water committee chairman, Bob Winchester.

I would like to thank Tom Pritchard for his efforts and service to date and congratulate him on his accomplishments. During his tenure the township negotiated an agreement with the City of Midland, allowing the residents of Homer Township to receive municipal water. Seven districts have been planned with three of them finished and two more nearly completed. Tom has not left us. He currently is one of our township trustees, and he has agreed to remain a member of the water committee.
~ -.

During this past year district 3 and 4 were finished and 100% restored. I have heard many say the districts look nicer that before the projects began.

Construction of district 7 is complete, except taps and restoration. Currently, district 6 is being constructed. These two districts are scheduled to be finished by the end of this July.

Districts 2 and 5 have been canceled at this time due to unacceptable construction costs.

For more information, including pictures. go to the township's internet site at:

http://homer-mid.mi-twp.org/wcommittee.php .

If you have questions or comments you can type them in at the internet site or call me at 631-9169.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO GET A PLUMBING PERMIT BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR SERVICE LEAD TO YOUR HOME. THE PERMITS ARE AVAILABLE OUTSIDE THE GLASS DOORS OF THE TOWNSHIP HALL IN A BLACK BOX ON THE WALL.

On the subject of service leads to your home, many residents have expressed frustration with not being able to find phone numbers for directional boring companies, for those that wish to use this approach. In an effort to help residents contact these contractors, we are listing those numbers that we have. There may be others. The Township is not recommending anyone contractor. You, of course, may wish to use a traditional contractor and open cut your service lead. You should be able to find these contractors in the yellow pages.

Again, it is NOT recommended that you install your service lead until after the water main is installed in front of your home. They can, and - have been, a hindrance to the installation of the water main.

BORING CONTRACTORS
Eric Construction                       989-865-9904
Roese Contracting                     989-684-5121
Royalty Contractors, Inc            989-835-3148

S & P Directional Boring Services, LLC
                                                               
989-832-7716
                                                Cell         
989-205-1619
T & T Contractors, Inc.             989-695-9076

MAPLE SYRUP DAY SET FOR MARCH by Shelley Koop
Maple Syrup Day at Chippewa Nature Center is set for Saturday, March 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is FREE to members. Non-member admission is $3/18 and up, and all children and students are admitted free.

Visitors at the festival may attend a Pancake Breakfast open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 PM -- for an additional fee of $6/ages 13 and up; $4/ages 3-12; free to children under age 3.

In the Visitor Center, stop by to watch the Homestead Quilters and the Woodcarvers carry traditional skills into a new century; see how spiles for sap-gathering are carved and try your hand at it; construct a paper version of a mokuk -- a container used by the Chippewa Indians; join in a new maple game and watch maple candy being made. The Ecosystem Gallery will be open, with exhibits featuring various habitats found at CNC.

Stop at the wigwam outside to learn about traditional skills that will be demonstrated. After that, it's on to the Sugarhouse, to see how we boil sap into pure maple syrup at CNC, and taste some yourself.

There will also be an 1870's sap boiling demonstration, Sugarbush tours and a tree tapping activity. To get the feel for settler life, visit the log cabin and chat with the cabin hostess. In the schoolhouse, find out what late-19th century school lessons were like, and try some traditional games (weather permitting).

THE TOWNSHIP 'BOARD

Supervisor, Barb Radosa 835-5671

Treasurer, AI Tew

631-3422

Clerk, Joe DuFort

832-0964

Trustees:

 

Helen Mudd

631-3708

Tom Pritchard

631-3806

John Stern

835-4203

Russ Varner

835-6845

Building Inspector

 

Kevin Varner

839-9181

Electrical Inspector

 

Wayne Holsinger

465-1653

Plumbing Inspector

 

Ted Van Wert

631-9645

Township Hall Rentals

 

Pam Varner

832-9818


TOWNSHIP NEWSLETTER STAFF

Ted Ilgenfritz
Helen Mudd
Anita Phillips
Karen Pritchard