Property Assessment

As a taxpayer in the City of Bay City, you are concerned about paying only your fair share of taxes for services received. In the Assessor's Office, we are responsible for estimating the market value of every property in the city. As we estimate the value of your property, we also make every effort to assure that your assessment is equitable to similar properties. Contact us if you need assistance. Assessment change notices are issued in February each year. You will be able to appeal your values during the first part of March. See your assessment notice for details. Let's look at how your concern and our responsibility interact:
It is a common misconception that our office alone determines your tax bill. This is not so. There are several different elements that enter into that formula, and our office is responsible for only one of those elements:
  • Assessed Value: By state statute, this is 50% of market value.
  • Market Value: This is the price an informed buyer would pay and an informed seller would accept in terms of cash for property exposed to the open market without undue pressure on either party. Valuation day is Dec. 31 of the previous year.
  • State Equalized Value (SEV): This is your Assessed Value times the State Equalization Factor. This factor is typically 1.0000. Therefore, your assessed value and state equalized value are the same. This number would be something other than 1 if the level of assessment proves to be something other than 50%.
  • Mill: $1.00 per thousand of Taxable Value ($1,000.00).

    The basic formula to arrive at your tax bill is as follows:
    • Taxable Value x Millage Rate = Tax Bill
  • Taxable Value (TV): By state statute, the taxable value is to be calculated based on the prior year's taxable value. It is last year's taxable value times the Consumer Price Index, or 5%, whichever is less. In 2016, this number was .3% and in 2015, this number was 1.6, or a factor of 1.016.

    Example: 2015 Taxable Value = $50,000

    2016 Taxable Value = $50,000 x 1.003 or $50,150

    Like everything, there are exceptions to this rule. In this instance, the exceptions could be that a sale occurred during the previous year (say 2015, in the example above), or the property experienced new construction, or removal of buildings, or perhaps a decrease in value. Your assessor can explain these details further.
  • Millage Rate: The millage rate is the total of all mills requested by various governmental entities and approved by voters. They consist of County, Intermediate School District, Community College, Your School District, State Education Tax, Library, Senior Millage, Mosquito, Gypsy Moth, Dispatch, Medical Care, Historical Society, Metro Transit and City. For residents with a homestead exemption, this totaled 48.7563 mills for 2015.

    For properties without a homestead exemption, (most commercial, industrial and rental properties), the millage rate was 66.7563 for 2015. For more information, see your tax bill.

    Example: $50,800 x 0.0487563 mills = $2,476

    (48.7563 divided by 1,000 = 0.0487563)

    Again, there are exceptions to this, notably agricultural property or properties used for agricultural purposes.
  • Homestead Exemption: Exemption from 18 mills of tax for school operating. On a $100,000 home, this would save the taxpayer $900 per year. This applies to all parcels owned that are contiguous to your residence. A form must be filed once and will stay in effect until rescinded. You are responsible to rescind if you no longer own or occupy the residence.
  • Non-Homestead Status: You will pay 18 mills of tax for school operating. This is paid by businesses, people owning vacant land that is not adjacent to their homestead, and other non-owner occupied properties.
  • Qualified Agricultural Exemption: Exemption from 18 mills of tax for school operating. Available to those who primarily use the property and buildings for agricultural use. Property does not need to be owner occupied or contiguous to an owner-occupied parcel.

    These are part of Proposal A, which was approved by Michigan voters in 1994. In exchange for an increase to 6% in the sales tax, we received a reduction in our property taxes, some as much as 40%.

    Our two major goals are to arrive at an accurate market value estimate of your property, and to assure that similar properties have similar assessed values.