blog, articles & publications

Michigan Department of Treasury Proposed Assessing Reform

The Michigan Department of Treasury released on May 3rd an “assessing reform proposal” that is intended to be introduced in the Legislature prior to its summer break. The stated goal of the proposed legislation is to improve the assessment profession through quality control. As drafted, the proposed bill could force many small assessing districts to “consolidate” their assessing departments, either with other assessing districts or under the county’s umbrella.

For an assessing district that does not use county assessing services, the State Tax Commission (“STC”) would mandate “substantial compliance” with various “quality standards,” including requiring the assessor of record to have attained either MMAO(4) or MAAO(3) level certification, to be responsible for assessing a certain minimum number of parcels and generated tax revenue (with some exceptions), and to provide full time service to an assessing district as an employee or contractor (with some exceptions).
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Recodified Tax Increment Financing Act

The Michigan legislature recently enacted Public Act 57 of 2018, otherwise known as the “Recodified Tax Increment Financing Act” (the “RTIFA”), which serves to streamline Michigan’s statutory tax increment financing scheme.  Read More

Bloom Sluggett, PC Turns Six Years Old

On April 12, 2018, our firm will celebrate its six-year anniversary.  We very much appreciate the support and loyalty of our clients.  Our attorneys look forward to many future years of representing existing and future clients.  Read More

Open Meetings Act Violations and Later “Ratification”

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently reiterated that a public body has the authority to approve prior decisions of that public body which are void because of a violation under Michigan’s Open Meetings Act (the “OMA”).  In Lockwood v Township of Ellington (decided on March 13, 2018), the township failed to provide proper public notice of a rescheduled township board meeting at which two citizens were appointed to the township’s planning commission.  At a later (properly held and noticed) township board meeting, two other citizens were appointed to the planning commission instead.  The initial planning commission appointees subsequently filed a lawsuit against the township.  In upholding the township board’s later appointments, the Court of Appeals noted that an action taken at a meeting held in violation of the OMA has no force or effect; however, a public body may later “ratify” decisions that were made at that previous defective meeting.  In this case, the township board failed to later “ratify” the initial planning commission appointments, instead opting to appoint two different citizens at a later township board meeting.  Accordingly, the later appointments were found to be valid because, without “ratification,” the earlier appointments were void.  Read More

Seasonal Homes and the Michigan Principal Residence Exemption

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of a municipality which denied a property owner’s petition for a “principal residence exemption” (“PRE”).  Under Michigan’s PRE, also known as the “homestead exemption,” a principal residence property can be exempted from the property tax levied by a local school district for school operating purposes.  To apply the PRE, a person must be a Michigan resident who owns and occupies the property as a principal residence.  Michigan statute defines “principal residence” as “the 1 place where an owner of the property has his or her true, fixed, and permanent home to which, whenever absent, he or she intends to return and that shall continue as a principal residence until another principal residence is established.”  Read More

Medical Marihuana Outdoor Cultivation

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently held that local zoning restrictions on outdoor medical marihuana cultivation are preempted by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”). In Charter Township of York v Miller, homeowners who were also MMMA patients constructed a backyard structure to be used for medical marihuana cultivation. The Township’s Zoning Ordinance expressly provided that, while residential property could be used by a medical marihuana cardholder for growing marihuana, the medical marihuana was required to be contained “within the main building” in an enclosed, locked facility.  This zoning restriction was consistent with the MMMA’s original cultivation restrictions; however, a 2012 amendment to the MMMA expanded the permissible cultivation locations to expressly include outdoor space. However, the Township argued that its broad zoning authority under the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act (“MZEA”) authorized it to prohibit entirely outdoor medical marihuana cultivation.  Read More

The Michigan Lake & Stream Associations, Inc Annual Convention – 2018

Cliff Bloom will be teaching seminars on April 20 and 21, 2018 at the annual Michigan Lake & Stream Associations Convention at Crystal Mountain in Northern Michigan.  The topics will include water/riparian law, buying and selling waterfront property, local government regulation of the waterfront, easements and similar issues.  Read More

2018 Best Law Firm Recognition for Municipal Law in Grand Rapids

We're humbled and delighted to announce that we've been recognized as a "2018 Best Law Firm" in the field of Municipal Law.  Read More

Bloom Sluggett Introduces New Firm Name and Attorney

As we approach our five-year anniversary, we are pleased to announce our new firm name, “Bloom Sluggett, PC.” While the name has changed, our firm has not, and we remain dedicated to providing exemplary client services.   Read More

Legislative Alert - Two Notable Bills Headed to Governor's Desk

Two pieces of legislation are headed to the desk of the Governor and, if signed, could impact Michigan’s municipalities.  Read More