FAQ

Animals (1)

May chickens be raised within the city limits?

Before the adoption of Ordinance No. 2012-02, chickens could be raised only on properties classified as farms. According to the zoning ordinance, farms are properties at least 5 acres in size with agricultural activities carried on as a source of income. Ordinance No. 2012-02, however, amended City code to permit chickens to be raised on single-family lots with some restrictions. City Council also adopted Policy No. 2012-02 that establishes rules for the permit process and other matters related to raising chickens. The permit application form can be found here.

Assessing (9)

What do the terms “assessed value,” “state equalized value” and “taxable value” on my Notice of Assessment mean?

According to Michigan property tax law, these terms have the following meanings:

Assessed value—The assessed value is determined by a property’s market value. Set by the assessor, the assessed value when multiplied by two will give an approximate market value of the property. The assessor is constitutionally required to set the assessed value at 50% of the usual selling price or true cash value of the property.

State Equalized Value (SEV)—SEV is the assessed value that has been adjusted following county and state equalization. The County Board of Commissioners and the Michigan State Tax Commission must review local assessments and adjust (equalize) them if they are above or below the constitutional 50% level of assessment.

Taxable value—A property’s taxable value is the value used for determining the property owner’s tax liability. Multiplying the taxable value by the local millage rate will determine your tax liability. Taxable value increases from year to year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. Transfers of ownership and improvements to the property will increase the taxable value more than the rate of inflation but never more than the assessed value.

How does the assessor determine the assessed value of my property?

To ensure properties are assessed uniformly and at 50% of market value, the assessor uses the results of the equalization study that is provided by the Eaton County Equalization Department.  This study is an analysis of the sales price of the property compared to its SEV for each class of property; residential, commercial, industrial, or agricultural. If there are not a sufficient number of sales for a particular class then the SEV will be compared to the appraised value that is done by the county appraisal staff. Typically, the sales study runs from October 1st through September 30th for residential. This study may also be a 2 years study at the discretion of the County and State. The same study period applies to the appraisal study although this most likely will be a 2 years study given the lack of sales in the commercial and industrial classes. The sales/appraisals are then organized by economic neighborhoods by the assessor. An economic neighborhood can be a single subdivision or a grouping of subdivisions with similar characteristics, or group of similar type properties. If the sales/appraisals in a certain economic neighborhood indicate an increase or decrease then all of the properties in that economic neighborhood will be changed by what the sales/appraisals have indicated. This ensures all properties are assessed at 50% of market value as of December 31.

 

When are my taxes due?

Summer property taxes are due in the Treasurer’s Office by 4 p.m. on August 31st. Winter property taxes are due in the Treasurer’s Office by 4 p.m. on February 14th. There is a 24-hour drop box located behind City Hall at the corner of Washington and Harris.

 

Does the City accept credit cards for payment?

The Treasurer’s office accepts cash and check payments only. Charlotte does not accept credit card payments at this time.

 

I need a copy of a paid receipt. Where can I get one?

The Treasurer’s office can provide you with a copy of your paid tax bill. You can also access this information on the city’s website at www.charlottemi.org; select assessing and tax services. You can access your property by owner’s name, address or parcel number. The site has tax information back to 2001.  Clicking on the “+” sign next to the year/season will show the detailed information for that tax season.  In this view, you will also have the option of printing the tax bill/receipt by clicking on the “Print Tax Bill/Receipt” blue icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.

 

How does the assessor determine my Assessed Value?

To ensure properties are assessed uniformly and at 50% of market value, the assessor uses a two year sales study that is provided by the Eaton County Equalization Department. A sales study is an analysis of the sales price of the property compared to its SEV. Typically, the sales study runs from April 1st to March 31st. The sales are then organized by economic neighborhoods by the assessor. An economic neighborhood can be a single subdivision or a grouping of subdivisions with similar characteristics. If the sales in a certain economic neighborhood indicate an increase or decrease then all of the properties in that economic neighborhood will be changed by what the sales have indicated. This ensures all properties are assessed at 50% of market value as of December 31st.

 

What determines the Taxable Value?

On March 15, 1994 Michigan voters approved the constitutional amendment known as Proposal A. The Taxable Value was created as a part of this legislation. Taxable Value, or the figure which millage would be multiplied against, can only increase each year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. The Taxable Value on the property is said to be “Capped” if the property owner has not had any additions or losses on the property or did not purchase it in the preceding year. The legislators who wrote and put Proposal A on the ballot intended to put a cap on the value of the property so that taxpayers wouldn’t be as affected by a robust housing market and a significant increase in valuation. The intention was to tie the increase in valuation to the inflation rate so that it would be more affordable for residents and would benefit those residents who intended to remain at their properties for longer periods of time.

 

Property values in my neighborhood have been decreasing. Will my property valuation be decreasing as well?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a yes or no answer to that question. If you’ve owned your property for a significant amount of time, more than likely your State Equalized Value (SEV) far exceeds your Taxable Value. If this is the case, a decrease in valuation, caused by a cooling real estate market, will be reflected in the SEV. The Taxable Value is required by the Michigan Constitution to increase each year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. In the case of a longtime property owner, the SEV could decrease, while the Taxable Value will increase.

 

Does that mean I’ll pay more property taxes instead of less?

In the previous scenario, yes you would. The Taxable Value will rise by the inflationary increase. This adjusted Taxable Value figure multiplied by the local unit’s millage rate will determine your new property tax liability.  The inflationary index for the past three years is as follows:

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
3.2% 1.5% 2.3% 2.3% 3.3% 3.7% 2.3% 4.4% -0.3% 1.7%

 

Public Access Cable Television (5)

On what channel is Charlotte’s Public Access Cable Television programming shown?

Charlotte’s Public Access Cable Television programming is shown on Broadstripe Cable Channel 21. You must be a Broadstripe Cable Television subscriber to recieve this programming.

What is typically shown on Charlotte Public Access?

City of Charlotte public meetings are the primary programming on Charlotte Public Access Cable, however programming submitted by the public is also shown.

City of Charlotte public meeting broadcasts are also available from the Charlotte Community Library. Individual meeting DVD’s can be purchased, upon request, from the city for $5. Please call (517) 543-8853 for more information.

Can I supply a program to be shown on Public Access?

Yes.

Charlotte organizations, individuals and groups are invited to use the Public Access Cable Television system for cablecasting of governmental, informational or educational programming.

If you have a non-copyrighted DVD of an informational seminar, workshop or meeting that would be of interest to the public, or are interested in developing programming related to a topic of public interest, you may be able to broadcast it on Public Access Cable.

If so, review the city ordinance governing the use of the equipment, facilities and cablecasting scheduling. Users are required to sign a waiver stating that you understand the program rules. Please note that you or your group’s representative must live within the Charlotte city limits in order to take advantage of this opportunity.

Potential users must review the cablecasting ordinance and submit a request form to schedule a program time slot(s). Official city broadcasts receive programming priority, and technical limitations require most programming to be shown during regular City Hall business hours.

Are there limitations on the type of material that can be shown on Public Access Cable Television?

Yes.

All material must be supplied in DVD format, and must not be subject to copyright restrictions. Copyrighted material may be shown if the express, written consent of the copyright-holder is supplied.

There are also content-based limitations. In accordance with the cablecasting ordinance, the following programming material is prohibited:

  • Commercial advertising material
  • Obscene or indecent material
  • Advertisements regarding a lottery
  • Unauthorized, copyrighted material
  • Direct solicitation of funds
  • Material defaming any racial, ethnic, sexual, age or religious groups
  • Material advocating violence or fighting words
  • Material not in compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws
  • Slanderous or libelous material
  • Deliberate misinformation
  • Paid political advertisements

The city will pre-screen all DVD’s to ensure proper programming and content.

Scheduling for program time slots is on a first come, first served basis, with priority given to regular City of Charlotte broadcasts. Due to technical limitations, most programming must be shown during regular City Hall business hours.

Applicants are required to make their own arrangements for delivering and retrieving their programming materials to city offices.

How can I get my community announcement to run on Cable?

Local non-profit organizations are invited to submit public announcements for broadcast on the City’s Cable Channel.

Short announcements can be submitted in writing with the name of the organization and a contact name and number. Announcements cannot be taken over the phone.

Organizations are also welcome to submit their own individual PowerPoint slides for inclusion.

Please call (517) 543-8853 with any questions.

Recycling (1)

Can materials for recycling be dropped off outside of the posted hours for the Charlotte Area Recycling Center?

The Charlotte Area Recycling Center does not accept materials outside regular business hours due to concern for patron safety. CARA’s hours are Tuesday 10am to noon and 2pm to 6pm and Saturday 8:30am to noon.

Taxes (15)

When are my taxes due?

Summer property taxes are due in the Treasurer’s Office by 5 p.m. on August 31st.  Winter property taxes are due in the Treasurer’s Office by 5 p.m. on February 14th. There is a 24-hour drop box located behind city hall at the corner of Washington and Harris.

How long does it take between a tree investigation and the recommended work?

Under normal circumstances, work will be completed in the same year a request is taken.  Maintenance trimming is generally done in the winter months when the tree is dormant.  Emergency work is always done as soon as possible.

 

Does the City accept credit cards for payment?

At this time, Charlotte does not accept credit card payments. VISA/Mastercard charges its customers an interchange fee of approximately 3%. On a $1,000 tax bill, the city would have to pay approximately $30 to the credit card company and that money would have to come out of general fund operations. There are municipalities that use credit card companies, but they charge the customer a “user fee” equal to the 3% interchange fee. You would have to pay the fee and the full tax bill. We have investigated this service, but have discovered through talking to other municipalities that it is seldom used. The Treasurer’s office accepts cash and check payments only.

I need a copy of my paid receipt. Where can I get one?

The Treasurer’s office can provide you with a copy of your paid tax bill. You can also access this information by clicking “On-line Assessing/Tax Services” on this website. You can access your property by owner’s name, address or parcel number. The site has tax information back to 2001 and will show dollar amounts and dates paid.

Who receives the funds from my tax bill?

Besides the City, your tax bill is remitted to Charlotte Public Schools, Eaton Intermediate School District, Charlotte Public Library and Eaton County. Details of some of the most often questioned line items on your tax bill are as follows:

SET (State Education Tax) -The State Education Tax Act was one of several components of Proposal A of 1994 that changed the way in which elementary-secondary education is funded in Michigan. The State levies the state education tax statewide at a six-mill rate on all real and tangible personal property not otherwise exempt from the property tax. This millage is distributed to the county treasurer who then forwards it to the State of Michigan.

CHAR SCH DEBT (School Debt) – Special elections are held to enable schools to levy millage for such things as school construction or renovation. This line item could be a combination of several elections the school district has had over the years. Please contact the school district for more detailed information on their debt millage. This millage is distributed directly to the school district.

CHAR SCH OPER (School Operating) – This millage is another component of Proposal A of 1994. Under the proposal, a school district can levy 18 mills for school operating purposes. An exempt principal residence is not subject to the levy of school operating millage. For the majority of Charlotte taxpayers, this line item will be zero as your property is your principal residence and it is exempted from this tax. Businesses, rental properties and people owning multiple properties will pay the school operating millage. This millage is distributed directly to the school district.

What do the terms “assessed value,” “state equalized value” and “taxable value” on my Notice of Assessment mean?

According to Michigan property tax law, these terms have the following meanings:

Assessed value—The assessed value is determined by a property’s market value. Set by the assessor, the assessed value when multiplied by two will give an approximate market value of the property. The assessor is constitutionally required to set the assessed value at 50% of the usual selling price or true cash value of the property.

State Equalized Value (SEV)—SEV is the assessed value that has been adjusted following county and state equalization. The County Board of Commissioners and the Michigan State Tax Commission must review local assessments and adjust (equalize) them if they are above or below the constitutional 50% level of assessment.

Taxable value—A property’s taxable value is the value used for determining the property owner’s tax liability. Multiplying the taxable value by the local millage rate will determine your tax liability. Taxable value increases from year to year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. Transfers of ownership and improvements to the property will increase the taxable value more than the rate of inflation but never more than the assessed value.

How does the assessor determine the assessed value of my property?

To ensure properties are assessed uniformly and at 50% of market value, the assessor uses the results of the equalization study that is provided by the Eaton County Equalization Department.  This study is an analysis of the sales price of the property compared to its SEV for each class of property; residential, commercial, industrial, or agricultural. If there are not a sufficient number of sales for a particular class then the SEV will be compared to the appraised value that is done by the county appraisal staff. Typically, the sales study runs from October 1st through September 30th for residential. This study may also be a 2 years study at the discretion of the County and State. The same study period applies to the appraisal study although this most likely will be a 2 years study given the lack of sales in the commercial and industrial classes. The sales/appraisals are then organized by economic neighborhoods by the assessor. An economic neighborhood can be a single subdivision or a grouping of subdivisions with similar characteristics, or group of similar type properties. If the sales/appraisals in a certain economic neighborhood indicate an increase or decrease then all of the properties in that economic neighborhood will be changed by what the sales/appraisals have indicated. This ensures all properties are assessed at 50% of market value as of December 31.

 

When are my taxes due?

Summer property taxes are due in the Treasurer’s Office by 4 p.m. on August 31st. Winter property taxes are due in the Treasurer’s Office by 4 p.m. on February 14th. There is a 24-hour drop box located behind City Hall at the corner of Washington and Harris.

 

Does the City accept credit cards for payment?

The Treasurer’s office accepts cash and check payments only. Charlotte does not accept credit card payments at this time.

 

I need a copy of a paid receipt. Where can I get one?

The Treasurer’s office can provide you with a copy of your paid tax bill. You can also access this information on the city’s website at www.charlottemi.org; select assessing and tax services. You can access your property by owner’s name, address or parcel number. The site has tax information back to 2001.  Clicking on the “+” sign next to the year/season will show the detailed information for that tax season.  In this view, you will also have the option of printing the tax bill/receipt by clicking on the “Print Tax Bill/Receipt” blue icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.

 

Who receives the funds from my tax bill?

Besides the City, your tax bill is remitted to Charlotte Public Schools, Eaton Intermediate School District, Charlotte Public Library and Eaton County.

 

How does the assessor determine my Assessed Value?

To ensure properties are assessed uniformly and at 50% of market value, the assessor uses a two year sales study that is provided by the Eaton County Equalization Department. A sales study is an analysis of the sales price of the property compared to its SEV. Typically, the sales study runs from April 1st to March 31st. The sales are then organized by economic neighborhoods by the assessor. An economic neighborhood can be a single subdivision or a grouping of subdivisions with similar characteristics. If the sales in a certain economic neighborhood indicate an increase or decrease then all of the properties in that economic neighborhood will be changed by what the sales have indicated. This ensures all properties are assessed at 50% of market value as of December 31st.

 

What determines the Taxable Value?

On March 15, 1994 Michigan voters approved the constitutional amendment known as Proposal A. The Taxable Value was created as a part of this legislation. Taxable Value, or the figure which millage would be multiplied against, can only increase each year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. The Taxable Value on the property is said to be “Capped” if the property owner has not had any additions or losses on the property or did not purchase it in the preceding year. The legislators who wrote and put Proposal A on the ballot intended to put a cap on the value of the property so that taxpayers wouldn’t be as affected by a robust housing market and a significant increase in valuation. The intention was to tie the increase in valuation to the inflation rate so that it would be more affordable for residents and would benefit those residents who intended to remain at their properties for longer periods of time.

 

Property values in my neighborhood have been decreasing. Will my property valuation be decreasing as well?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a yes or no answer to that question. If you’ve owned your property for a significant amount of time, more than likely your State Equalized Value (SEV) far exceeds your Taxable Value. If this is the case, a decrease in valuation, caused by a cooling real estate market, will be reflected in the SEV. The Taxable Value is required by the Michigan Constitution to increase each year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. In the case of a longtime property owner, the SEV could decrease, while the Taxable Value will increase.

 

Does that mean I’ll pay more property taxes instead of less?

In the previous scenario, yes you would. The Taxable Value will rise by the inflationary increase. This adjusted Taxable Value figure multiplied by the local unit’s millage rate will determine your new property tax liability.  The inflationary index for the past three years is as follows:

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
3.2% 1.5% 2.3% 2.3% 3.3% 3.7% 2.3% 4.4% -0.3% 1.7%

 

Test (1)

Why are FAQs not working?

We don’t know; we’re trying to figure it out.

Trees (13)

How do I know if a tree adjacent to my home is in the public right-of-way?

City trees are located on the strip of boulevard between the sidewalk and the street.  If you have no sidewalk, you can contact the Department of Public Works for a determination based on the street’s right-of-way.

How long does it take between phoning in a tree concern and having the tree investigated?

Under normal circumstances, the inquiry will be investigated within two days. It will be investigated immediately if it is believed to be a hazard or emergency.

 

Whom do I contact when a tree is interfering with power lines?

Contact Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.

 

Whom should I contact if a neighbor’s private tree interferes with my tree or property?

The City has no authority in these situations and we can only suggest that you seek legal counsel if the situation cannot be worked out amicably with the neighbor.

 

Does the City give tree chips away?

The City does keep a pile of wood chips at the DPW garage for residents to use.  The DPW does not load the chips nor guarantee their quality.  The chips are available on a first come first serve basis.

 

Does the City pick up brush from trees on private property?

No.  However, a resident is allowed to drop the brush off at the DPW garage after they sign in at the office.

 

May I take the logs from trees that have been removed from the right-of-way?

Yes.  If the resident requests to keep the logs from a tree in front of their home, they have first right of refusal.  The logs will be placed behind the sidewalk or ROW.  The homeowner is then responsible for any cleanup that occurs after that.  The only exception to the homeowner keeping the logs would be if the tree were removed due to disease, in which case the tree will be disposed of properly by the DPW.

 

How long after pruning or removal is complete will the logs and brush be removed?

Under normal conditions, the debris will be picked up the same day that pruning/ removal is done.  There may be circumstances whereby a crew is needed for an emergency elsewhere in the City.  In those cases, the brush will be picked up as soon as possible.

 

Does the City clean up leaves or fruit from City trees?

No, we do not provide this service.

 

Can the public remove branches from City trees?

No, the Department of Public Works is responsible for all tree maintenance.

 

Does the City respond to trees obstructing sidewalks, driveways, and traffic signs?

The Department of Public Works will remove the lower branches on trees maintained by the City in order to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, signs, and pedestrians.  Tree branches over roadways are removed to a height of 15 feet, and to a height of ten feet over sidewalks and pathways.  All branches within 6 feet of a structure are also removed when requested.  Trees on private property that are causing problems are the responsibility of the homeowner.

 

How are tree roots able to interfere with sewer lines?

Tree roots are frequently found in sewer lines that have collapsed or leak.  Tree roots are not the cause of the problem.  While seeking water, entry is gained through a previously cracked portion of the pipe.  Cracks in a line may occur due to a deterioration of the pipe because of age, shifting or complication of the pipe bed, or because of the type of piping material used in the construction of the line.  In older systems, the line was usually constructed with clay tiles.  Modern sewer construction relies on PVC plastic pipe.  For this reason, the City will not remove publicly maintained trees because of sewer problems.

 

Who is responsible for repairs when tree roots interfere with sewer lines?

The maintenance responsibility of a sewer line is that of the property owner.  The City will only repair or replace the connection to the sewer main line.  Tree roots can be chemically removed from a sewer line through the application of a herbicide which burns off any obstructing roots.  Typically, these applications area required every two to three years.  The Department of Public Works will provide this service to homeowners in accordance with the current fee schedule.