Plan to improve aging infrastructure may double some Walled Lake property taxes

Posted at 11:31 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 05:24:22-04

What would you do if suddenly you learned your property taxes might double or even triple? That is the news residents in one Walled Lake neighborhood are learning and they are fired up asking for change.

People who live in the Tri A subdivision say they are worried a city plan to improve infrastructure in their neighborhood will cost them everything.

“We are up in arms because you are literally going to force us out of our homes,” said Tina Thurston during public comment at a meeting Monday night.

She is not alone in her concerns. Residents turned out in such numbers that some had to stand outside in the bushes and listen to the meeting through the window.

Here is the problem: The Tri A sub, which includes Beta, Delta, Gamma, Sigma, and Omega Streets, has old fire hydrants that don’t work properly, drains that can’t handle rain, and crumbling roads. 

Residents agree these problems are real and need to be addressed but don’t agree on how to pay for it.

The city says fixing the problems will cost more than $4 million – more than the city’s annual budget.

City leaders are suggesting an assessment on the approximately 100 subdivision residents, which could cost $997 to $4,370 per year per parcel for 20 years. Depending on property values, that could double or triple some people in the community’s property taxes.

The city is looking at several variations of the plan. They could spread the cost out over 25 years, or delay some of the improvements. City leaders, however, say at some point the work will need to be done.

“We can’t afford it,” said Karla Gerrard, a resident of the subdivision. “We would have to move.”

Residents in the subdivision say they want others in the city to share the cost.

“We flood pretty badly in a couple spaces. The roads are bad. They are crumbing on the edges, but again they allowed subdivision to be built above us and it is draining down flooding our neighborhood. This is a city problem,” said Thurston.

At the meeting city leaders listened to residents and said a decision would be made at a later time.