Purpose of Equalization
The equalization process sets the property tax base for the county and helps to ensure that property taxes are levied in a fair and equitable manner.
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 allowing them to answer 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.
The department coordinates the county aerial and GIS line mapping systems. These maps contain such information as property lines, roadways, highways, county drains, right of ways, and water resources. Property description records and the uniform real estate indexing system are fundamental elements for both of these systems. The department’s computer system is essential to facilitating these functions. This system is used to verify the integrity of assessment rolls and ensure that all taxable property within Newaygo County is properly described and assessed. To view the county online map, please click here.
Assessment rolls, associated forms, and reports are produced and maintained for each local unit on the County’s system. This office works closely with local assessors ensuring that statutory requirements and State Tax Commission administrative rules for property tax administration are correctly administered.
Information gathered by this department is available to the public during the course of regular business hours which are Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Some of the information available consists of parcel maps, aerial photographs, parcel descriptions, sales information, Equalization reports, Millage rates, and more.