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Published: Tuesday, 5/26/2009

Bedford Twp. 1% property tax fee will start July 1

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - People who own property in Bedford Township will begin paying a 1 percent administrative fee on property taxes on July 1.

The township board last week authorized the treasurer to begin collecting the fee to offset a reduction in state revenue.

Supervisor Walt Wilburn said the fee is allowed under a state law that has been on the books for many years, and the township has resisted for a long time to implement it.

"It has been on the radar for quite a while. Many townships in Monroe County and the state of Michigan charge residents this." Mr. Wilburn said. "We had decided that the fee would be a last resort."

The fee will appear on tax bills that will be sent July 1. It is not collected on special assessments.

Treasurer Sherri Meyer said the township expects to collect about $291,000 annually from the fee on property taxes, roughly the same reduction in state revenue to the township.

Monroe County Treasurer Kay Sisung said that Bedford Township will become the 11th township in the county to charge the administration fee. Four other townships, including LaSalle Township, don't charge it.

Monroe, Petersburg, Milan, and Luna Pier also collect the 1 percent fee.

The township is struggling to balance the budget that must be submitted to the state before the end of June.

Since April, the township has laid off six employees and reduced to part-time the hours of another employee. The cuts have equated to about a $150,000 savings in the last quarter.

Mr. Wilburn said the reductions, which include layoffs in the building inspection because of the slowdown in home building, will save about $300,000 on next year's budget.

In addition to layoffs, the township is trimming other expenses, including ending the summer mosquito spraying program, which costs about $71,000.

Erie Township Treasurer Cindy Baum said the township was collecting the 1 percent fee before she was elected into office 1996.

"We have been collecting the fee for a long time. I am sure that it has been 20 years or better," she said.

Last year, the township received about $37,000 from the fee.



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