The city’s Assessing Division has earned a perfect score in the most recent, 2016 cycle of state audits – something typically achieved by fewer than 2 percent of local governments.
Every five years, all local units in the state receive an Audit of Minimum Assessing Requirements (AMAR) to determine compliance with State Tax Commission requirements in the General Property Tax Act. The latest review included 1,015 governments in 55 counties.
The audit examines 13 items, eight of which are considered by the state as major requirements.
The eight major requirements include whether the government has accurate land value maps, whether it has properly calculated and documented Economic Condition Factors, whether a random sample of record cards match a field review with at least 90 percent accuracy, and whether the current year’s assessments include new construction from the prior year.
For example, the city achieved 93 percent accuracy on the comparison of record cards to a field review of 172 residential properties, and had zero questionable property transfers (taxable value is required to be uncapped, with a less-than 5 percent error rate). The results stated that the city’s “sales comments and terms were extremely helpful.”
“We are extremely proud of these results, and I’m proud of my great, hard-working staff who earned them,” said Assessor Steve Hudson. “We continuously do our best to fairly value the 20,000-plus properties in the City of Battle Creek.”
During the city’s last audit, in 2012, the Assessing Division met the eight major requirements. During this most recent round of audits, 125 governments met those. Governments not meeting at least those eight receive corrective plans from the state.
In the results letter the city received from the state Department of Treasury, staff were thanked for their hard work.