2016-05-18 / Front Page

Annual report: Agriculture is still king

Farmland values up 9%
BY STEVEN KOVAC
810-452-2684 •


Wendi Willing Wendi Willing County Equalization Director Wendi Willing has released her annual report detailing real estate values throughout Sanilac County.

Willing’s report on the four property classifications -agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial - shows the 2016 state equalized value of agricultural real property in Sanilac County at $1,276,869,808, up 9.03% from last year.

The biggest jump, 27.54%, was in Minden Township.

“In Minden Township,” said Willing, “land values went up significantly, from $4,900 per acre last year to $6,500 per acre this year.”

Agriculture SEV went down in three townships:

Buel -5%; Moore -0.81%; and Lexington -0.17%.

Willing’s report is part of a rite of spring in counties across Michigan.

Every year in the month of March the complex, cumbersome - and some people feel subjective - process of determining property values begins.

The task is important because the determined values are a critical component of the twopart formula by which local property taxes are levied. It is called the tax base. The other component is the tax rate, or millage – the dollars of tax per thousand dollars of valuation.

A multiplying of the tax base by the tax rate reveals what the property owner owes in property taxes.

The Michigan Constitution mandates that real and personal property be assessed for tax collection purposes at 50% of true cash value.

According to Willing, the 2016 SEV of residential real property in Sanilac County is $916,890,418, up 1.16% over last year.

Residential values went up most (19.45%) in Bridgehampton Township.

Residential values declined the most (-15.65%) in Wheatland Township.

In the county’s four cities, residential jumped 12.92% in Brown City and 14.12% in Marlette, inched up 1.73% in Sandusky, and dropped 5.02% in Croswell.

The 2016 SEV for commercial real property in Sanilac County is $106,699,657, up 3.7% over last year.

“Commercial in Austin and Washington Townships had to come up this year. They were low. There are not many commercial properties in Austin to be affected, but there are a significant number in Washington because of Carsonville and Applegate,” said Willing.

Commercial in Austin Township was raised 58.63%, while commercial in Washington Township saw a 52.05% bump.

Commercial SEV in the city of Croswell saw a significant decline of -12.33%. It went down -8.37% in Sandusky, while Marlette Township’s commercial declined -16.60% and the city of Marlette was down 3.24%. Commercial in Brown City was up 4.60%

The SEV of industrial real property in 2016 for Sanilac County is $13,470,439, up 1.94% from last year.

“Industrial in Watertown Township jumped 263.61%,” said Willing. “The starting ratio was low, and some new value was added for the International Transmission Company (transmission lines).”

Asked about the 171.19% jump of industrial SEV in Minden, Willing told the News, “There is very little value in that class there, and Detroit Edison had new value added to an existing parcel which made it look like there was a huge jump percentage wise. There was nothing significant affecting much else there.”

In the cities, industrial declined 7.47% in Brown City, 2.90% in Croswell, 9.34% in Marlette and 5.02% in Sandusky.

In 2016 the total equalized value of all classes of real property in Sanilac County was $2,319,318,022.

Once again Worth Township led the county with the highest equalized value. It came in at $192,373,593. Lexington Township was second at $179,970,837, followed by Sanilac Township with $149,535,500.

In summary, Sanilac County is still predominantly farm country, with a significant number of valuable resort properties along the Lake Huron shore. The county has a small commercial sector along with a tiny segment of industrial properties.

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