City of Kalamazoo, MI
Kalamazoo County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Commission of the City of Kalamazoo as indicated in section histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
CHARTER REFERENCES
Tax sale procedure — See § 88 et seq.
Special improvements — See § 108 et seq.
GENERAL REFERENCES
Wastewater discharge regulations and enforcement procedures  — See Ch. 28.
Special assessments for sidewalk construction, repair or replacement — See § 33-36 et seq.
Application of this chapter to installation of water distribution mains — See § 38-6D.

§ 32-1 Title.

[Adm. Code § A600.1]
This chapter shall be known as the "Special Assessment Ordinance" and it may be referred to and cited as such.

§ 32-2 Definitions.

[Adm. Code § A600.2]
The following terms, as used in this chapter, shall have the meanings herein ascribed to them:
COST
When referring to the cost of any improvement, shall include the cost of surveys, plans, land, right-of-way, spreading of rolls, notices, advertising, legal and financial advice, financing and construction and all other costs incident to the making of such improvement, the special assessment therefor and the financing thereof.
IMPROVEMENT
Any public improvement, the whole or any part of the cost of which is assessable against one or more lots or parcels of land especially benefited thereby, in proportion to the benefit to be derived therefrom.

§ 32-3 General authority of Commission.

[Adm. Code § A600.3]
The City Commission is hereby empowered to determine that the whole or any part of the cost of any improvement shall be defrayed by special assessments upon the property specially benefited, and assessments may be levied before, during or after construction.

§ 32-4 Property owners' petition.

[Adm. Code § A600.4]
The Commission, in order to ascertain whether or not a reasonable number of property owners to be assessed desire any particular improvement to be made, may request and receive a petition therefor, or may receive such a petition voluntarily presented, but in either event, such petition shall be advisory only and shall not be jurisdictional, except in cases where such a petition is specifically made jurisdictional by the statutes of the state. Such petition shall be submitted on forms approved by the City Manager and shall be furnished by the City. The City shall not be required to construct any improvement petitioned for, and the City may proceed to construct an improvement without a petition having been filed or without 51% having signed the petition.

§ 32-5 Preliminary proceedings.

[Adm. Code § A600.5]
The Commission shall, by resolution, require the City Manager to prepare such maps, diagrams or plans as will indicate the scope of any improvement, any part of the cost of which is to be defrayed by special assessment, and an estimate or tabulation of the cost thereof, and to file the same with the City Clerk, together with his recommendation as to what proportion of the cost should be paid by special assessment and what part, if any, should be borne by the City at large and the land which should be included in the special assessment district. After the report is filed with the Clerk, it shall be presented to the Commission and shall be available for public examination. Whenever any land which should be included in the special assessment district may not be assessable for any reason, a written agreement may be reached providing for the payment of the owner's share of the cost of the improvement. Whenever any property is acquired for the purpose of any improvement, the cost thereof and of the proceedings required to acquire such property may be added to the cost of such improvement.

§ 32-6 Commission determination; direction to prepare roll.

[Adm. Code § A600.6]
After the City Manager's report is presented to the Commission pursuant to § 32-5, the Commission may, by resolution, approve the maps, diagrams or plans and the estimate or tabulation of cost; authorize or ratify the improvement; determine the estimated life of such improvement; determine what proportion of such cost shall be paid by special assessment upon the property especially benefited and what part, if any, shall be borne by the City at large; the number of annual installments in which the assessments may be paid; the interest to be charged; designate the district or land and premises upon which special assessments shall be levied; and direct the Assessor to prepare a special assessment roll in accordance with the Commission's determination.

§ 32-7 Preparation of roll generally.

[Adm. Code § A600.8]
When so directed by the Commission, the City Assessor shall prepare a special assessment roll, including all lots and parcels of land within the special assessment district designated by the Commission, and shall assess to each such lot or parcel of land such relative portion of the whole sum to be levied against the special assessment district as shall be proportionate to the benefit to such lot or parcel of land resulting from the improvement. If, by mistake or otherwise, any person shall be improperly designated as the owner of any lot or parcel of land, or if it is assessed without the name of the owner, or in the name of a person other than the owner, such assessment shall not, for any such cause, be vitiated, but shall, in all respects, be as valid upon and against such lot or parcel of land and the true owner as though assessed in the name of the proper owner.

§ 32-8 Preparation of roll after completion of improvement.

[Adm. Code § A600.7]
Notwithstanding any provisions of this chapter, the City Commission may, in its discretion, delay the preparation of a special assessment roll, together with its determination of the portion of costs to be assessed, the number of installments and land included in the district, until after the completion of the improvement, in which case the actual cost thereof shall be reported to the Commission and a special assessment roll shall then be made, based upon such actual cost pursuant to its determinations.

§ 32-9 Corner lot formula and assessment line for sewer improvements; payment as prerequisite to sewer connection.

[P.S. Code § PS302.5]
All property adjoining or abutting on any street or alley through which or along which a main sewer shall be built or extended, or in which a main sewer shall be built, shall be assessed for the cost of such improvement as the City Commission shall, by resolution, direct, according to the provisions of the Charter and this chapter; provided that no corner lot having an aggregate frontage of 198 feet or less on streets or alleys shall be assessed on more than half the sum of the frontage on said streets or alleys for lateral and main sewer construction, and no corner lot having a greater aggregate frontage of more than 198 feet in the street or alley shall be assessed for main or lateral sewer construction on a greater number of feet than is obtained by adding the several frontages on the streets and alleys, and deducting 99 feet from the total thereof; and further provided, that a corner lot shall be deemed to be land held under one ownership, without reference to any subdivision as made in plats. Frontage for assessments shall be computed along an assessment line parallel to the street or alley right-of-way line. In zoning districts 7, 7A and 8, the aforementioned assessment line shall be located 25 feet from the street right-of-way line. In zoning districts 5, 5A, 5B and 6, the assessment line shall be located 15 feet from the street right-of-way line. In zoning districts 1 through 4, inclusive, and for purposes of the application of the corner lot formula as hereinbefore described, the assessment line shall coincide with the street right-of-way line.[1] Such assessments or installments due shall be paid in full before a permit shall be issued for connecting said property with a main or lateral sewer, unless otherwise provided by the City Commission.
[1]
Editor's Note: See App. A, Zoning Ordinance, § 2.1, for current zoning districts.

§ 32-10 Assessment line for street improvements.

[P.S. Code § PS301.32(a)]
All property adjoining or abutting on any street or alley graded, paved or otherwise improved shall be assessed for the cost of such improvement, as the City Commission shall, by resolution, direct, according to the provisions of the Charter and this chapter. Frontage for assessments shall be computed along an assessment line parallel to the street or alley right-of-way line. In zoning districts 7, 7A and 8, the assessment line shall be located 25 feet from the street right-of-way line. In zoning districts 5, 5A and 6, the assessment line shall be located 15 feet from the street right-of-way line. In zoning districts 1 through 4 inclusive, the assessment line shall coincide with the street right-of-way line. Where pavement and curb and gutter have been constructed and/or assessed along one side of a corner lot prior to July 30, 1973, credit for the appropriate frontage differential resulting from use of the aforementioned assessment line shall be given to corner properties in special assessment rolls confirmed after such date.

§ 32-11 Certification and filing of roll.

[Adm. Code § 600.9]
When the Assessor has completed the assessment roll, he shall attach thereto his certificate to the effect that the roll has been made by him pursuant to a resolution of the City Commission, giving the date thereof, and that, in making the assessment therein, he has, as near as may be and according to his best judgment, conformed in all respects to the directions contained in such resolution and to the Charter and this chapter. Thereupon, the Assessor shall file, in the office of the City Clerk, a copy of the assessment roll and certificate, and it shall be available for public inspection.

§ 32-12 Fixing time and place for hearing; notice of hearing.

[Adm. Code § A600.10]
Upon receipt of an assessment roll and certificate by the Clerk, the Commission shall fix a time and place when it will meet and review such roll and shall direct the City Clerk to give notice of such hearing. The notice shall specify the time and place of the hearing and shall be sent by the City Clerk, by first-class mail, to each owner of property subject to assessment in accordance with law. Unless otherwise directed by the Commission, the Clerk shall insert a return addressed, postage prepaid response card with such notice, inviting the recipient's comments on the project and assessment and requiring him to sign his name and address thereon. When so directed by the Commission, the Clerk shall also publish the notice.

§ 32-13 Conduct of hearing; objections to roll; Commission action on roll.

[Adm. Code §§ A600.10-A600.12]
A. 
The hearing required by § 32-12 may be held at any regular, adjourned or special meeting of the City Commission, provided the time therefor is specified in the required notice, and such hearing may be adjourned from time to time. At such hearing, all interested persons or parties shall be given an opportunity to be heard. The City Assessor, with a copy of the assessment roll, and the City Manager shall be present at such hearing.
B. 
Persons deeming themselves aggrieved by a special assessment roll shall appear at the hearing provided for in this section or shall file their objections thereto in writing with the City Clerk prior to the close of such hearing or any adjournments thereof. Such objections shall specify, in detail, in what respect the objectors deem themselves aggrieved.
C. 
At the hearing conducted under this section, the Commission shall review the special assessment roll and shall consider any written objections thereto. The Commission may correct the roll as to any assessment or description of any lot or parcel of land, or other errors appearing therein. Any changes made in such roll shall be noted in the Commission's minutes. After such hearing and review, the Commission may confirm such special assessment roll with such corrections as it may have made, if any, or may refer it back to the Assessor for revisions or may annul it and any proceedings in connection therewith. Upon confirmation of any special assessment roll, the Commission shall determine the due date thereof, the number, if any, of annual installments in which it may be paid, not exceeding 20, establish the rate of interest chargeable on the unpaid balance from and after the due date, and establish penalties for late payment. Where installment payment is permitted, the Commission may establish a collection fee not exceeding 5% of the unpaid balance to compensate for the accounting services required. The Clerk shall endorse the date of confirmation on each special assessment roll.

§ 32-14 Assessments as lien.

[Adm. Code § A600.13]
All special assessments contained in any special assessment roll shall, from the date of confirmation of such roll, constitute a lien upon the respective lots or parcels of land assessed and, until paid, shall be a charge against the respective owners of the several lots and parcels of land. Such lien shall be of the same character and effect as the lien created for City taxes and shall include accrued interest, collection fees and penalties. No judgment or decree, nor any act of the Commission vacating a special assessment, shall destroy or impair the lien of the City upon the premises assessed for such amount of the assessment as may be equitably charged against the same, or as by a regular mode of proceeding might be lawfully assessed thereon.

§ 32-15 Collection.

[Adm. Code §§ A600.15, A600.16, A600.20]
A. 
The special assessment roll shall be transmitted by the Clerk to the Treasurer for collection, immediately after its confirmation. The Treasurer shall divide the assessments into installments, when so ordered by the Commission; provided that, if such division operates to make any installment less than $10, then the Treasurer shall reduce the number of installments so that each installment shall be above and as near $10 as possible. The Treasurer shall mail statements of the several assessments to the respective owners, as indicated by the roll and the records of the Treasurer of the several parcels of land assessed, stating the amount of the assessment and the manner in which it may be paid; provided, however, that failure to mail any such statement shall not invalidate the assessment or entitle the owner to an extension of time within which to pay the assessment.
B. 
The Treasurer shall be charged with collecting all special assessments. After an assessment or any installment becomes delinquent, he may add the entire assessment, with any interest, collection fee or penalty, to the annual tax bill of the City attributable to the lot or premises involved, or he may collect it separately by the tax sale procedure provided in the Charter.
C. 
In addition to any other remedies and without impairing the lien therefor, any delinquent special assessment, together with interest, collection fees and penalties, may be collected in an action at law in the name of the City against the person assessed or liable for the same, in any court having jurisdiction thereof. If in any such action it shall appear that, by reason of any irregularities or informalities, the assessment has not been properly made against the defendant or upon the premises sought to be charged, the court may, nevertheless, on satisfactory proof that expense has been incurred by the City, which is a proper charge against the defendant or the premises in question, render judgment for the amount properly chargeable against such defendant or upon such premises.

§ 32-16 Deficiency assessments and refunds.

[Adm. Code § A600.18]
Should the assessments in any special assessment roll prove insufficient for any reason to pay the assessed portion of the cost of the improvement, the Commission may make additional assessments against the several lots and parcels of land within the special assessment district to supply the deficiency, or the Commission may determine that such deficiency shall be paid in part by the City. Should the assessments levied prove to be more than necessary to defray costs of the improvements, the Commission may, by resolution, order the excess, if less than 5% of the total project costs, to be transferred to the general fund, but if more than such amount, the whole excess shall be refunded to the then owners of the premises involved, as their names appear upon the City tax rolls. The excess shall be determined within one year following the completion of construction and refunds shall first be applied as payments upon unpaid installments in the inverse order of the due dates thereof.

§ 32-17 Reassessment in event of illegality.

[Adm. Code § A600.19]
Whenever any special assessment shall, in the opinion of the Commission, be invalid by reason of irregularity or informality in the proceedings, or if any court of competent jurisdiction shall adjudge such assessment to be illegal, the Commission shall, whether the improvement has been made or not, or whether any part of the assessment has been paid or not, have power to cause a new assessment to be made for the same purpose for which the former assessment was made. All proceedings on such reassessment and for the collection thereof shall be conducted in the same manner as provided for in the original assessment, and whenever the assessment, or any part thereof, levied upon any premises has been so set aside, if the same has been paid and not refunded, the payment so made shall be applied upon the reassessment and the reassessment shall, to that extent, be deemed satisfied.

§ 32-18 Division or combination of lots after assessment confirmed.

[Adm. Code § A600.17]
Should any parcels of land be divided or combined after a special assessment thereon has been confirmed, and before the assessment has been fully paid, the Assessor shall, as promptly as possible, apportion the uncollected amounts upon the several descriptions so divided or combined and report the same to the City Commission. Such report, as an amendment of the original lien, when confirmed by the City Commission, shall be conclusive upon all parties and parcels, and all assessments thereafter made upon such land shall be according to such new description.

§ 32-19 Single-lot assessments.

[Adm. Code § A600.14]
When any expense shall have been incurred by the City upon or in respect to any single premises, which expense is chargeable against such premises and the owner thereof under the provisions of the Charter or any ordinance of the City or law of the state, and is not of the class required to be prorated among several lots and parcels of land in a special assessment district, an account of the costs or the labor, material or services for which such expense was incurred, verified by the City Manager, with a description of the lot and the name of the owner, if known, shall be reported to the City Treasurer, who shall immediately charge and bill the owner, if known. Such bill shall be sent by first-class mail to the owner of the property to be assessed and such bill shall notify such owner of the time of the meeting of the Commission, not sooner than 10 days thereafter, when the Commission will meet for the purpose of adopting a resolution confirming a special assessment upon such property for such charges, unless the same are paid prior to the date of such meeting. Upon adoption of such resolution, the Commission may establish a due date, authorize installment payments, and establish interest collection fees and penalties for late payment as provided for in this chapter. Immediately after the adoption of such resolution, the Treasurer shall give notice of the amount so determined to the several persons chargeable therewith. Such notice shall be sent by first-class mail to the last known addresses of such persons as shown on the assessment roll of the City, or by publication. Such notice shall state the basis of the assessment and the amount thereof, and shall give a reasonable time, not less than 15 days, within which payment shall be made to the Treasurer. In all cases where payment is not made within the time set, the assessment shall become collectible as any special assessment. The resolution referred to in this section shall be treated as the confirmation of a special assessment roll.