City of Grand Ledge, MI
Eaton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Grand Ledge 3-27-2000 by Ord. No. 452. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Special Assessment Fund — See Ch. 23, Art. VII.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 178.
Taxation — See Ch. 187.

§ 44-1 Initiation of special assessment projects.

A. 
A special assessment project may be commenced by resolution of the Council on its own initiative, or by initiatory petitions signed by owners of not less than 51% of the property to be assessed for the project; provided, however, that the fact that any petition bears less than the required 51% not prevent the Council from declaring any project proposed thereby a public necessity, and commencing the project on its own initiative.
B. 
Such initiatory petitions shall contain, at a minimum, a description of the proposed improvement(s), and shall additionally state the petitioners' address, lot number and name of subdivision, if any.
C. 
The circulator of each petition shall certify, in the manner required by Michigan Election Law, that the petition signers are the record owners of property described on the petition and that each signature on the petition is the genuine signature of each respective petitioner.
D. 
Petitions shall in no event be mandatory upon the Council. The Council shall be authorized to reject or defer consideration of any petition for any improvements for which adequate provisions are not included or anticipated in the current fiscal year's budget, or if the City Council determines that there are insufficient funds to cover the initial legal, engineering and/or other administrative costs.
E. 
All petitions shall be circulated and executed on printed forms furnished by the City Clerk and shall be submitted to the City Clerk when completed.
F. 
The Clerk shall record the date of submission of any such petitions and refer same to the Council. The Council shall check all petitions to determine whether they conform to the foregoing requirements and shall make such further investigations thereon as it shall deem necessary and proper. The Council may accept, defer or reject such petitions by resolution.

§ 44-2 Request for engineer's report.

Upon the adoption of a resolution commencing a special assessment project or accepting a special assessment project petition, the Council shall, within the same resolution, refer the matter to the City Engineer to prepare a report which shall include necessary and pertinent information in order to permit the Council to ascertain the probable cost, extent and necessity of the proposed improvement, together with what proportion thereof should be paid by special assessment upon the property especially benefited and what proportion, if any, should be paid by the City at large. The Council shall not order the making of any special assessment improvement(s) prior to the filing of the report of the City Engineer and until after a public hearing has been held for the hearing of objections to the making of such special assessment improvement(s).

§ 44-3 Determination on the project; notice of hearing.

A. 
After the City Engineer has presented the report required in § 44-2 and the City Council has reviewed this report, if the City Council determines to proceed, a resolution shall be passed determining the Council's desire to move forward to receive public input regarding the improvement, setting forth the nature and the expected life of the improvement; determining the benefits expected to be received by the affected properties and what proportion, if any, shall be paid by the City at large; describing the section or area of the City to be included within the proposed special assessment district; prescribing what proportion of such improvement shall be paid by special assessment upon the property especially benefited; designating whether benefits are to be assessed by frontage or by other proper manner; placing the complete information on file in the office of the Clerk where the same may be found for examination; and directing the Clerk to give notice of a public hearing on the proposed improvement not more than 20 and not less than 10 days prior to the date of the hearing, at which opportunity will be given interested persons to be heard.
B. 
Notice.
(1) 
Such notice shall be made by at least one publication in a newspaper published or circulated in the City, and also by first-class mail to the record owners of the property within the special assessment district as required by Act 162, PA 1962, or any Act superseding that Act. Said notice shall contain, at a minimum:
(a) 
The time and place of the hearing; and
(b) 
A description of the proposed improvement; and
(c) 
A description of the section or area of the City to be included within the proposed special assessment district; and
(d) 
That the engineer's report is on file with the City Clerk's office and available to be examined; and
(e) 
That any person interested may appear at the hearing and give testimony to the Council regarding the proposed improvement, or a written statement may be filed with the City Clerk prior to the close of the hearing; and
(f) 
Further informing the residents and/or property owners within the proposed special assessment district of their rights to protest and object as set forth in the Grand Ledge City Charter and in § 44-5 of this chapter; and
(g) 
A statement that appearance and protest of the proposed improvement, or written protest, is required if the person desires to appeal any assessment to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
(2) 
Said notice shall contain any additional information deemed necessary or appropriate by the City Council.

§ 44-4 Hearing on objections; resolution to proceed.

A. 
At the public hearing on the proposed improvement, all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard, after which the Council may proceed in such a manner as it shall deem to be in the best interests of the City as a whole including, if deemed necessary or appropriate, amending the proposed special assessment project or special assessment district; provided, however, that if the City Council determines to add any property to the proposed special assessment district, the City Council shall take no further action until an additional public hearing is held following notice, in the manner described in § 44-3 above. If, after such hearing, the Council determines to proceed with the special assessment project, a resolution shall be passed ordering the proposed improvement to be made, and directing the Assessor to prepare a special assessment roll.
B. 
Unless the City has available in a revolving fund, or otherwise, the moneys required for defraying the cost of a public improvement, or at least that part thereof that will accrue before the special assessments thereon will be paid, or moneys available from the sale of bonds issued in anticipation of the collection of such special assessments, no contract or expenditure, except for the cost of necessary legal procedures and engineering plans and estimates, shall be made for the improvement until the special assessment roll to defray the costs of the same has been confirmed.

§ 44-5 Objections to improvements.

If, at or prior to the adoption of the resolution to proceed required by § 44-4, written objections have been filed by the owners of property in the special assessment district which, according to estimates, will be required to bear more than 50% of the assessed portion thereof, or by owners representing more than 50% of the property to be assessed, no resolution to proceed with the improvement shall be adopted, except by the affirmative vote of five or more members of the Council.

§ 44-6 Cost of condemned property added.

Whenever any property is acquired by condemnation or otherwise, for the purpose of any public improvement, the cost thereof, exclusive of that part of such cost representing damages for or injury to improvements to such property, and the cost of the proceedings to acquire such property, may be added to the cost of such improvement, provided that the cost of the improvement assessed against property assessed for benefits derived shall not exceed the value of such benefits.

§ 44-7 Deviation from plans and specifications.

[Amended 6-24-2002 by Ord. No. 480]
No substantial deviation from the plans and specifications for any public improvement, as adopted by the Council or included in the contract thereof, as the case may be, shall be permitted by any officer or employee of the City without authority of the Council by resolution. A copy of the resolution authorizing such changes or deviation shall be certified by the City Clerk and attached to the approved plans and specifications or the contract, as the case may be, on file in his office. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the execution of change orders in accordance with procedures contained in construction contracts previously approved by the Council.

§ 44-8 Assessment procedure.

The assessment procedure for public improvements assessed according to this chapter shall be as follows:
A. 
Assessing costs; assessment roll.
(1) 
Pursuant to the resolution to proceed, the City Assessor shall make an assessment roll for the lands within the portion of the City so designated showing the amount of expense:, in proportion as nearly as possible to the benefits which each person is deemed to acquire by the making of such improvement.
(2) 
The assessment roll shall include the names of the owners or parties in interest of such lands, as shown from the Assessor's records, the description of the property assessed, and the amount assessed to each person respectively. Said roll shall be filed with the City Clerk, who shall make copies available for public inspection and who shall also forward the roll to the City Council for confirmation.
B. 
Hearings on assessment roll.
(1) 
Upon the making and filing of the assessment roll, as required in Subsection A above, the Council shall adopt a resolution directing the Clerk to give notice of at least one public hearing before the roll is confirmed. The City Clerk shall cause such notice of the public hearing to be published not more than 20 days and not less than 10 days before such hearing in a daily newspaper of the City. The notice shall, at a minimum, contain the following information:
(a) 
The time and place of the hearing; and
(b) 
A description of the section or area of the City determined by Council to be within the assessment district as contained in the proposed special assessment roll; and
(c) 
That the proposed special assessment roll is on file with the City Clerk's office and available to be examined; and
(d) 
That any person aggrieved by the assessment as contained in the special assessment roll, or the necessity of the improvement, may file a written objection thereto which must be delivered to the City Clerk prior to the close of the hearing or that the person may appear and protest the same at the public hearing in person or by his or her representative; and
(e) 
That the appearance and protest, or written protest, in the manner described is required if the person desires to appeal the amount of the assessment to the Michigan Tax Tribunal; and
(f) 
That any appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal must be taken within 30 days of the confirmation of the special assessment roll, provided that a protest was timely made.
(2) 
In addition, the Clerk shall give notice of the hearing not less than ten 10 days before the date of the hearing to each owner of, or party in interest in, property to be assessed and whose name appears upon the last local tax assessment records, by first-class mail addressed to each such owner or party at the address shown on the tax records. As used in this section, "last local tax assessment records" means the last local Board of Review, as supplemented by any subsequent changes in the names and addresses of owners or parties listed thereon. The notice required under this subsection shall be identical in content to the published notice described above.
(3) 
Where any person claims an interest in real property whose name and correct address do not appear upon the last local tax assessment records, he or she shall be obligated to file immediately his or her name and address with the City Assessor and to provide evidence acceptable to the City Assessor that he or she is entitled to be the taxpayer of record. The Assessor shall immediately enter on the local tax assessment records any changes in the names and addresses of owners or parties in interest filed with him or her and shall at all times keep such tax assessment records current, complete and available for public inspection.
(4) 
On the day appointed for the hearing and on such other days as the hearing may be adjourned to, Council shall receive all written protests and hear the allegations and proof of all persons who appear and protest the assessment. Following the hearing, the Council may confirm the assessment roll without any changes or with such corrections as Council may deem appropriate. Council may rectify and amend such assessment roll, in whole or in part, or may set such roll aside and direct a new assessment, either by the same person or by such other person as Council appoints for that purpose. If the proposed assessment roll is set aside, the same proceedings as are herein provided for the first order of assessment, including additional public hearing(s), shall be conducted for any new assessment roll.
C. 
Correction of deficient or excessive assessment. If the estimated expense of the improvement was used to establish the special assessment and the special assessment proves insufficient to pay for the improvement or work for which it was levied, and for the expenses incident thereto, Council may, within the limitations prescribed for such assessments, make an additional pro rata assessment to supply the deficiency. If this additional amount necessary is less than 10% of the total cost, the additional amount shall be automatically added to the existing assessment. If a greater amount is collected than is necessary, and said coverage exceeds 5% of the actual costs, then the excess shall be refunded to those by whom it was paid. Overages of less than 5% shall not be refunded.
D. 
Liens on property for assessments.
(1) 
When any special assessment for public, local or other improvements, or for any other purpose authorized by ordinance, has been made, as provided in this chapter, and the assessment roll for such assessment is delivered to the City Treasurer for collection, the assessment shall be a lien upon the premises upon which it was assessed from and after the date of the warrant for the collection thereof. The Treasurer may levy on and collect such tax from any personal property in the possession of the person charged with such tax, or in any other manner permitted by law.
(2) 
If the assessment is not paid, the Treasurer shall, within five days after the time prescribed by the warrant for the collection thereof has expired make a report to the City Clerk of the sum and interest, as the case may be, due and so remaining unpaid, which has not been collected, together with a description of the premises assessed for such unpaid taxes. The Clerk, within five days thereafter, shall, in like manner, notify the City Assessor of the amount of such taxes, and the description of the premises assessed and charged with such tax, who shall assess such unpaid taxes on such premises, in the tax roll of the proper ward next thereafter to be made.
(3) 
Real property exempt from taxation by law shall nevertheless, with or without valuation, be subject to taxation for special improvements, the same as other property. Such tax or taxes shall then be levied, collected and returned, and the premises may be sold or forfeited for nonpayment of the ordinary City taxes.
E. 
Invalid assessments; reassessments.
(1) 
Whenever any special assessment to defray the expense of any improvement is invalid, in the opinion of Council, Council may vacate and set the same aside. When any such special assessment is so vacated, or is held invalid by the judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, Council may, from time to time until a valid assessment is made, cause a new assessment to be made for the purpose for which the original assessment was made and in the manner provided for making the original assessment. Whenever the tax or any part thereof assessed upon any lot or parcel of real estate by the original assessment set aside or held invalid as aforesaid has been paid, and is not refunded, the City Treasurer shall apply such payment upon the reassessment on the lot or parcel of real estate and make a notation thereof upon the new assessment roll. Such reassessment shall, to the extent of such payment, be deemed paid and satisfied, after which no part of the amount paid on the original assessment shall be refunded, unless the amount paid as aforesaid exceeds the amount of the reassessment, in which case the excess shall be refunded, and the person or his or her legal representative who paid such amount shall be entitled to the amount to be refunded.
(2) 
All the provisions of this chapter making special assessments a lien upon the lots and parcels of real estate enforced therein, and also those relating to the collection of special assessments, shall apply to such reassessments. This section shall apply to assessments made before, as well as after, the effective date of this section.
F. 
New warrants of collection.
(1) 
Whenever any special assessment has not been collected within the life of the Mayor's warrant affixed to the assessment roll, and is not vacated or held invalid, the Mayor may affix a new warrant to such assessment roll, extending the time for the collection of the assessment so long as Council directs. The Mayor may continue to affix new warrants to any assessment roll, from time to time, under the direction of Council, until the assessment is collected or returned.
(2) 
Whenever any special assessment roll is hereafter ratified and confirmed, the time of payment of such special assessment is not extended over a term of years, and such special assessment is not collected within the life of the Mayor's first warrant affixed to such special assessment roll and is not vacated or held invalid, there shall be added to, paid and collected with such tax or assessment on each particular parcel or description of land, or any undivided share thereof, a penalty of 4% at the time of the expiration of the Mayor's first warrant affixed to such roll, together with interest at 1/2% per month, computed from the date of confirmation thereof, until paid or required by law to be returned as delinquent to the County Treasurer.
G. 
Assessment of nonresidents' or unoccupied lands. The lands of nonresidents and unoccupied lands of the City may be assessed their just proportion of the expenses of all improvements in the City, in the same manner and in the same amounts as assessments for improvements of other lands.
H. 
Application of section. The provisions of this section are applicable to all public improvements permitted by law, including, but not limited to, streets, sidewalks, drains, sewers, water mains, malls and promenades.

§ 44-9 Payments and collection.

[Amended 6-24-2002 by Ord. No. 480]
A. 
Collection of assessments: payments; interest; bond funds.
(1) 
Every assessment ratified and confirmed by Council shall be final and conclusive. The City Treasurer shall collect the assessments on or before the due date, which shall be set forth in the resolution confirming the roll. In collecting the special assessments, the Treasurer shall have all of the powers and collection options provided by law, including jeopardy assessment against personal property subject to said special assessment.
(2) 
The City Council may, in its discretion, establish by resolution that the special assessment may be paid in one or more installments, but the amount of any installment shall not be less than 1/2 of any subsequent installments. The Council shall determine the appropriate number of installments applicable to each project on a case-by-case basis.
(3) 
Billing; installment payments.
(a) 
Billing for payment of special assessments shall be in accordance with the resolution confirming the special assessment roll. If the assessment is payable in installments, interest shall be charged at the rate of 7% per annum on the unpaid balance or, if the City has borrowed funds to pay for the improvement which is the subject of the special assessment, interest shall be charged at the borrowing interest rate plus 1% calculated to the date of payment on said unpaid balance.
(b) 
No interest rate adjustment shall be made unless the rate was erroneously computed. The Treasurer shall determine final payment of a special assessment liability. A penalty of 4% of the installment due shall be charged on all installment delinquencies.
(c) 
Subsequent installment payments shall be due at intervals of 12 months from the due date of the first installment or from a date that the City Council shall fix.
(d) 
If any installment becomes delinquent, such installment shall be processed and subject to interest and penalties as a delinquent tax.
(e) 
Payments made in addition to the annual installments shall not be considered as installment prepayment nor relieve the taxpayer of the responsibility of paying any annual installment. Scheduled payments shall include principal, determined in the manner provided in this section, and all accrued interest and penalty.
(f) 
Prior to any change of ownership of such properties on the installment payment special assessment program, certification must be presented to the Assessor and Treasurer proving that all special assessment taxes have been paid. Alternatively, a notarized agreement signed by the purchaser may be filed with the Assessor and Treasurer, which agreement clearly indicates that the purchaser is assuming the remaining lien.
(4) 
At the direction of City Council, the City Engineer shall begin work or cause work to begin on a special assessment project on or before the first designated due date of a special assessment roll. If, due to some unavoidable circumstance, the Engineer cannot commence such work before said date, he or she shall make a special report to Council stating the circumstances in detail.
(5) 
The Treasurer shall be responsible for accounting for all special assessment collections.
(6) 
The City shall have a lien for the total amount of special assessment taxes, interest and penalties, which lien shall attach to the property liable for the same, from and after the date of the warrant for the collection of the whole or any installment thereof, and shall remain until all installments are fully paid.
B. 
Authority of Council; interest on unpaid installments. Notwithstanding any of the provisions of Subsection A hereof, the City Council may grant an extension of time for payment of special assessments by any taxpayer upon the showing of special need or economic hardship, without regard to the use, whether commercial, professional, industrial or otherwise, of the property within a special assessment district. As a condition of granting any deferral, the City Council shall require that any deferral assessment amount constitute a recorded lien against the property.

§ 44-10 Special procedure where all landowners consent.

A. 
If the City Council determines to proceed with any improvement, and written waivers are received from each and every person or entity who would otherwise be subject to special assessment to defray the cost of improvement, then the City Council may declare, by resolution, that the improvement shall proceed pursuant to the unanimous consent of the proposed special assessment district.
B. 
Such written waivers shall constitute and shall expressly state that the person(s) executing the same consent to the establishment of a special assessment district and is irrevocably waiving all rights to notice of any and all public hearing(s) in the establishment thereof.
C. 
The City Council may determine that said assessments shall be paid in installments, in which case interest shall be charged at a rate not to exceed the City's bond rate plus 1%.