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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mills vs. Actual taxes

Here is an anonymous comment on my post about the incorrect perception that we are heavily taxed in Troy.
There is no mental delusion going on. People are looking at what they PAY in taxes. not the millage rate. They are seeing that they pay a lot, and consequently don't want to pay more. The idea that we have the 'lowest rate' around is not the whole equation. It's the rate times value that determines what people pay.
OK, so how's this?
A comparison of City Tax Bills based on a taxable value of $102,490.
Source: City of Troy Financial Summary for the year ended June 30, 2010 
$1,848 -- Madison Heights
$1,675 -- Southfield
$1,457 -- Birmingham
$1,307 -- Rochester Hills
$1,198 -- Royal Oak
$1,190 -- Farmington Hills
$1,100 -- Sterling Heights
$   963 -- Troy

So, although when I moved here five years ago, my taxable value was much higher, today it's just a little more than 102,000. So even if my taxable value were $350,000, I would be paying much less than someone in a comparable house in all these communities.
So here's the question--Do you feel you want to live in these towns or in Troy? What makes Troy so attractive? Our ameneities and services and public safety? Pay attention because those will not continue, as they lay off dozens of people (as the city already has and shut down overtime, etc. etc....
Look I've said it before and I'll say it again.
You like living in a town with low taxes, no library and crappy city services? Fine. Just don't gripe about it. I'm just saying, I wish you would move to Hazel Park and leave Troy alone.


  1. Sharon,

    Perhaps you should move to Hazel Park. Oh wait, probably couldnt sell your home right now without taking a huge loss? So, stop your whinihng, and deal with it, just like you are suggesting to 'us'.. move, or stop whining. That's what your saying isn't it? That suggesstion goes both ways.

  2. This is copied from the 'TRUST' Facebook page:

    "Troy enjoys approximately a 12% premium in property values over our neighbors."

    If there is a 12% premium in property taxes, that means the city, regardless of thier tax 'millage rate', garners more money in tax revenue, doesnt it? Also, how many 300k+ homes do you think there are in Hazel Park. Duh?

  3. If you didn't want to pay the taxes, why would you move here. Sounds like a poor decision. Don't trash my city because of your poor judgment.

  4. OK, Anon 1, you're right. My mortgage is not underwater, but who wants to move to a town with no library. You people who keep coming after me answer this -- why do you want to live in a city that is 17th rate? Literally. Why? Why because Bob Gosselin/Janice Daniels and Howrylak don't care about libraries, should I settle for that?
    I can see the button now -- "Move to Troy, We're 17! We're 17!"
    I guess unlike all, y'all, I didn't move here looking for a second rate city, let alone 17.

  5. And I'm not really saying move or stop whining. I don't think you guys are passively whining. I think you are actively, passionately destroying Troy. Good work so far, folks.

  6. And one more thing :-D...
    Why does it seem like all the "fiscally responsible"" anti-tax folks bought houses that they can't afford? If a 9.28 city millage is killing you, you bought a house you can't afford.
    I didn't.

  7. And it never ceases to amaze me that I put myself out here, you all know who I am and you are too chicken to identify yourself.
    Pretty hysterical really. :-D

  8. Quoted from anonymous poster who won't own his/her opinion: "that means the city, regardless of thier tax 'millage rate', garners more money in tax revenue, doesnt it?"

    No. That's not true.

    Troy sends out approx. 31,000 TOTAL tax bills. Other local cities send out as much as two times that many bills.

    Therefore, FEWER taxpayers are paying on a LOWER rate than in many cities.

  9. Sue, I believe the city sends out fewer tax bills due to the large amount of commercial property. Taubman probably gets one bill for all of Somerset Mall and then collects from the retailers therein.
    Also, many people use the anonymous function because you're on Blogspot. It's easier to leave comments on other blogging platforms using your real name.

  10. I think that there are way too many people who are not differentiating between City taxes and their total tax bill, which includes the hold-harmless school tax, intermediate school district amounts, etc. They think "well, I make the check out to the City of Troy, so it must ALL be going into the City coffers", when in fact it is only about 1/4 of that amount that the City of Troy gets. Yes, I know that they put the graphic showing the percent, and yes, I know it says right on the bill how it's divided up, but I believe in their minds, it's all going to Troy. Perception, for them, is reality.

  11. Sharon, I have chosen, and continue to choose to be anonymous on this page, because, quite frankly, I don't 'trust' you guys. I dont want to wind up with poop on my front doorstep, some heavily pro union person bustin my chops because I think most unions (and union contracts) are past their time, or some other malfeasance. You, and the pro taxers have been pretty vocal, even to the extent of plastering someone's personal information all over facebook (and no, I'm not that person, or Dave Lambert).. This is, and will continue to be why I will continue to remain anonymous on this page... you seem to have a real problem with it, so even more so the reason to stay anonymous. Why the 'fixation' with finding the 'who' behind the 'anon'? What's you real motivation there?

    You as administrator can stop anonymous postings any time you want (in fact I think you did a week or so back)... Things that make me go 'hmmmm?'.

  12. Yes, you've said these things before. I just think it's rather amusing you don't have the courage to back up what you say.
    But that's OK. I know I'm so big, muscular and strong looking that I must be quite intimidating, pipsqueak that I am.

  13. Sharon, you essentially ignored what I said regarding the 'rest' of the pro tax faction, and made it 'all about you'.. which it is not, but it is what I expected. Besides, it wouldn't be you, it would be the minions.

  14. Anonymous,

    What "personal information" was put over Facebook?

  15. Sharon said "Why does it seem like all the "fiscally responsible"" anti-tax folks bought houses that they can't afford? If a 9.28 city millage is killing you, you bought a house you can't afford.
    I didn't.

    Well I also did not buy a house I could not afford, but an in general am anti-tax and am fiscally responsible - so please don't count me in with your "all".

    I however, can feel for others. Whether or not you bought more house than you could afford, if you are now facing losing that house, do you really think you are worried about a library? NO, you are worried about your family and a place to live.

    So, obviously everybody is being selfish. They can't understand a library problem and you can't understand being homeless. I guess I would rather be you. Please just don't ever say "let them eat cake"

  16. I will concede the point that yes, there are larger parcels comprised of several individual tax bills like Somerset Mall and Oakland Mall, etc. More of those industrial/commercial buildings are being vacated each day, however, so we can expect to see that continued loss of revenue as has been apparent over the last 3-4 budget years.

    That doesn't change the fact that the residential portion of the tax revenue is paid by fewer residents than in some a lower rate.

  17. Anonymous - sorry I made it all about me (!?). I didn't address what you said because I don't belong to a pro-tax faction and don't know what you're talking about. I want to save my city. And want to stop the onslaught of disinformation that is contributing to people voting against their self-interest.

  18. @ "let them eat cake anon"--I totally agree with you!!!!!!! Truth is, my husband's small business is not doing so well and we've had a pay-less payday.
    I've interviewed people out of work, losing their homes and do you know how they survive? The libraries. They go there for free wireless so they can apply online for jobs (that can only be applied to online), their kids use the wireless Internet for homework and books that they can't afford to by and they use e-mail, because they've had to shut down their home Internet service. Nobody likes taxes. But sometimes taxes pay for things that we can only get cheaply if everyone pays into it. I know some do, but I do not believe that a library is a luxury, especially in a bad economy. These days some want to call something so important to all as a library socialistic. We used to call it community.
    And one more thing. It is in the much poorer communities, with far higher unemployment rates and far lower personal incomes where people SUPPORT library millages. I don't think the majority of people voting no on our library millages do so because they can't afford it.
    Some see a library millage ONLY as a tax--that is all they can see. I see it as library funding.

  19. Free wireless so they can apply for jobs that they can only apply to online? Come on , really? You can get free wireless at caribou...(ok so you ave to buy a coffee, but if someone needs to use the wireless there I'LL but them a coffee) Oh Brother!

  20. You are not a very connected or kind person, anonymous. I've spoken to two people recently who have gone to libraries to research jobs and put out resumes. Caribou doesn't have jobsearch databases and not everyone has a laptop to drag to Caribou either. Why don't you just admit you are a cheap, heartless person who doesn't want a library and leave it at the truth. Lord!

  21. Wow - the rhetoric is getting pretty harsh here don't you think? Everybody needs to take a deep breath and try, really try to see the other point of view. Nobody is totally right or wrong. We all have opinions and can take numbers and skew them to support any position we want (I know numbers can be skewed - I do it for a living).
    Personal attacks are not productive and only bring us all down to the level of grade schoolers and I think even they know better.

    Everybody wants a library - this issue is being used as Custer's last stand. It is the last chance that the people get to have input and say that the city, while it has done much, needs to do more to cut labor/benefit costs. Take a look at the news - only today. This country, let alone this city is about to riot over the issue of public vs. private compensation. Mr. S has hit the target of 10% reduction in labor costs with only 30% of the labor force. 30% is nice, but in school 30% is a failed frade. Hit 90 or 100% and take that savings and allocate it it the library. It does not get us there but it gets us closer. Don't take the savings and reallocate it to a future budget year and then say it is gone, it has been allocated. Sterling Heights just announced labor concessions - the unions willingly opened their contracts and re-negotiated. Why do you not hear of all this strife in other cities? They cur personnel costs and raised the millage, they are happy now and will have a library as usual. Troy could do the same, cut the costs and we too will pony up and vote a millage increase.

  22. Sorry if I'm harsh. But making fun of the idea that unemployed people need libraries because they can't afford Internet access at home is kind of sick to me. My point is there is value in a library in a down economy. If you think that's a joke or an exaggeration, well, you don't get it.

  23. "Mr. S has hit the target of 10% reduction in labor costs with only 30% of the labor force. 30% is nice, but in school 30% is a failed frade. Hit 90 or 100% and take that savings and allocate it it the library"

    So you want a 90-100% cost reduction in labor? Um, doesn't that mean firing everyone????

  24. Oh yeah, I got that wrong. But I don't think 30% was the goal, rather it was what they have achieved so far. He's working on it, I do believe. Sorry, I guess I get a bad frade too.

  25. I'm getting 20 messages a day from Anonymi - I don't know who is who and who said what, 'cause you all have the same name.
    Sorry if I can't as one person, have the time to bicker with you all endlessly, but I do have a few other things to do. If you want to write me via e-mail, it's Then we can have an ongoing debate between two people. Make up a fake email, at least I would know who you are.
    This is just silly.
    Post something original. It'll get through.

  26. Does anyone know what these anti-tax folks do for a living? Typically there are many choices for where we spend our money. All other things being equal I would prefer to do business with those who support keeping Troy a strong and vibrant community.

  27. Yes, the anti-tax people are everywhere. They may be your bank teller, perhaps the doctor who heals you, maybe the person who does your taxes.

    We are just average citizens like you are. We don't wear black hats and we don't hate our city or our country for that matter. We actually are not even anti-tax. We are anti-new tax. We may even agree to a new tax after the city gets concessions from the remaining 70% of the employees who have yet to give dollar 1 back in concessions.

  28. Anonymous stated:

    "Mr. S has hit the target of 10% reduction in labor costs with only 30% of the labor force. 30% is nice, but in school 30% is a failed grade."

    What the above Anonymous, and the tea party folks don't get or just plain ignore, is that the remain 70 % are union employees with existing contracts. It is not just that Szerlag can wave a magic wand and reduce the remaining labor costs. Under MI Law, Szerlag cannot even force the unions to reopen and renegotiate the existing contracts. No. All City Management can do, and in fact did, is ask the remaining unions to take pay cuts and reduce benefits, and they are meeting in good faith to work this out. But under MI law the union can, and maybe will, say to city management "No way! We aren't making any further concessions" Then where is the City, Mr. Anonymous? The same place the city is at today. The bottom line: if people really want a library then a millage is the only solution.

  29. "Yes, the anti-tax people are everywhere. They may be your bank teller, perhaps the doctor who heals you, maybe the person who does your taxes."

    --Of course you are right Anon, and I don't have a problem with educated voters who know what's going on who vote against millage increases. To each his own. As I've said a million times, it's the folks I talk about here who dis-inform voters to get their way--using all the political dirty tricks we've seen over the last year, to convince people to vote against their best interests.

  30. Yes, let's just keep increasing the taxes and bilk the taxpayers. If those communities want to pay more, that is their choice. Troy is know for lower taxes and good schools. I'm sure because of higher taxes, everyone is just itching to move to Madison Heights.

  31. "Bilk?" Simply put - you get what you pay for. And when the library closes we will be getting what you pay for. Apparently Troy will soon be known the place that doesn't value a library. yay