(Iron Mountain - November 28, 2017) - This was the comment of County Commissioner Joe Stevens (R-Dist 1) following a report to the County Board of Commissioners Monday evening by County Equalization Director Sid Bray. While recent rulings by the Michigan Tax Tribunal are good news for the Verso Corporation, the loss of revenues may be devastating to not only Dickinson County, but to the Breitung Township and Iron Mountain Schools and the Charter Township of Breitung as well.

Information released by Bray at Monday's Board of Commissioners meeting indicates total losses in revenue of more than $780,000 annually as the result of a ruling in favor of the Verso Corporation, on the value of it's paper mill in Quinnesec.

As the result of appeals to the Tax Tribunal by Verso, their taxable valuation was reduced by $17,000,000.00.

Here's the primary breakdown on the loss of revenue:

Dickinson County - $167,000.00
Breitung Township Schools - $437,000.00
State Education Funding - $103,000.00
Breitung Township - $72,000.00

The detailed breakdown shows losses as follows:

Dickinson County operating funds - $105,621.00
Dickinson County Library - $15,481.00
Dickinson County Health Department - $7,225.00
Bay College West - $17,201.00
Senior Citizens - $6,881.00
Dickinson County Road Commission - $8,601.00
Enhanced 911 System - $6,881.00
State education funding* - $103,208.00
Breitung Township School debt retirement - $82,222.00
Intermediate School District - $45,281.00
Breitung Township extra voted millage - $72,246.00


While the Verso ruling is one of two handed down by the Tribunal, it will by far have the most devastating impact on funding. The other ruling, in favor of Northern Star Industries of Iron Mountain will have a serious funding effect as well.

The Tribunal reduced the taxable value of the Northern Star Industries by more than $6,000,000.00, resulting in revenue losses of more than $253,000.00

Here's the primary breakdown for Northern Star Industries:

Dickinson County - $37,502.00
Iron Mountain Schools - $97,553.00
State Education Funding - $38,736.00
City of Iron Mountain - $79,846.00

The detailed breakdown shows losses as follows:

Dickinson County operating funds - $23,892.00
Dickinson County Library - $3,458.00
Dickinson County Healthy Department - $1,614.00
Bay College West - $3,842.00
Senior Citizens - $1,537.00
Dickinson County Road Commission - $1,921.00
Enhanced 911 System - $1,537.00
State Education funding* - $38,736.00
Iron Mountain Schools debt retirement - $18,570.00
Iron Mountain Schools operating funds - $68,919.00
Intermediate School District - $10,114.00
City of Iron Mountain operating funds - $61,983.00
City of Iron Mountain refuse collection - $5,060.00
City of Iron Mountain police and fire pension fund - $12,803.00

While efforts have been underway for several years to overturn these decisions legislatively, none of the bills which would limit the powers of the Tax Tribunal have managed to make their way out of the Michigan Legislature.

It is expected that this will not be the end of appeals to the Tax Tribunal, so long as the current law remains in effect, further eroding the amount of money available to local governments.

* Taxes imposed on local property to help support public education State-wide. These funds are collected by the County, but paid to the State, under provisions of Proposal A, adopted in 1994.

 

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