Purpose of Equalization
Each year, under guidelines established by the State Tax Commission, and mandated by Section 211.34 of the General Property Tax Act of the State of Michigan, the Equalization Department in Newaygo County works with our 24 Townships, 4 Cities and one Village Assessors to assure proper equalized values for real and personal property throughout the county.
The Equalization Department’s main purpose is to correct the inequities that may occur between local units of government as a result of under or over assessment of a property class. The township assessor, through the local board of review, is the only agency that is allowed to change an individual assessment. The Equalization Department may not change an individual’s assessment. It may only change the entire class of property by adding to, or deducting from, the assessment roll.
The equalization process is accomplished using sales and appraisal studies performed on individual property classes in each township, city and village throughout the county.
The results of these sales and appraisal studies are used to determine the true cash value of each property class (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, developmental, timber cutover, and personal property). The department’s equalization studies are compared to the corresponding property class totals as determined by the assessor for each township and city. If necessary, the department applies a “County Equalization Factor” to those classes that have an “average level” of assessment above or below 50% of true cash value.
The Equalization Department serves as a liaison between the County Board of Commissioners, the State Tax Commission, and the local units of government and the public. Through the course of normal business the department personnel interact with the general public answering questions regarding the assessment and property taxation function. In addition, records are utilized by realty professionals, independent fee appraisers, financial institutions, abstract/title insurance companies, tax lien and public land sale purchasers. The dissemination of such information provides direct benefits to any individual who wishes to buy, sell, or finance property in Newaygo County.