According to the Kent County Bureau of Equalization, the equalized value for all industrial properties in the county fell from $1.97 billion in 2009 to $1.54 billion this year for a drop of $430 million or 21.5 percent.
Of the 28 taxing jurisdictions in the county with industrial properties, only six recorded a gain in equalized value from the 2009 to 2010. Of the six, only one increase was a double-digit percentage gain: Rockford’s industrial value rose by 33.7 percent or $6.6 million.
Six other tax jurisdictions saw their equalized values fall by more than 30 percent over the last year. Vergennes Township had the largest percentage drop at 46.1 percent, while Wyoming recorded the largest dollar-value drop at more than $138 million. One jurisdiction, Courtland Township, reported no change for the year.
A bad economy that has cost the county manufacturing jobs was one reason for the drop in industrial value. But another reason for the drop was that the Michigan Tax Commission required local assessors to reclassify some industrial properties as commercial and some commercial properties as industrial to be in compliance with the Michigan Business Tax. The required shift may also have raised industrial values for cities and townships that reported gains.
Kent County Equalization Director Matt Woolford explained that the state’s tax commission told assessors to focus on a building’s use for its classification. So if a distribution warehouse was located next door to a manufacturing plant in an industrial park and both buildings had the same owner, only the plant could be classified as industrial. The warehouse would fall into the commercial category because it only stores the manufactured products.
“Historically, the highest and best use has driven the classification of property in Kent County. Now, on top of that, we also have to consider the actual use in the manufacturing-distribution process for classification. That’s why we had over 10,000 properties the STC ordered class changes for, going into the 2010 year statewide.”
Here is a listing of the equalized values for the past two years and the percent change in values for those years for the 28 cities and townships in the county with industrial properties.
2009 County Equalized Value
2010 County Equalized Value
Note: East Grand Rapids and Grattan Township do not report having industrial properties.
Sources: Kent County Equalization Reports, 2009 & 2010