The equalization process sets the property tax base for the county and helps to ensure that property taxes are levied in a fair and equitable manner. Nearly 50% of Kalamazoo County's General Fund Revenues are generated from property taxes.
Each year, under guidelines established by the State Tax Commission, the Equalization Department works with township and city assessors to assure proper equalized values for real and personal property throughout the county.
The Equalization Department's main purpose is to correct the inequities that may occur between local units of government as a result of under or over assessment of a property class. The Equalization Department does not determine individual assessments, that is the sole responsibility of the local assessor. The equalization process is accomplished using sales and appraisal studies performed on individual property classes in each township and city throughout the county.
The results of these sales and appraisal studies are used to determine the true cash value of each property class (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, developmental, timber cutover, and personal property). The department's equalization studies are compared to the corresponding property class totals as determined by the assessor for each township and city. If necessary, the department applies a "County Equalization Factor" to those classes that have an "average level" of assessment above or below 50% of true cash value.
Other information the county has available to the public includes computerized assessment rolls for current years, sales ratio studies, equalization reports, and millage rates.
Public InformationThe records generated and maintained by this department are public information and as such are utilized by the public including realty personnel and independent fee appraisers. The use and dissemination of such information provides an indirect benefit to any individual who wishes to buy, sell, or finance property in Kalamazoo County.
In the course of performing its statutory duties the department serves as a liaison between the State Tax Commission, County Board of Commissioners, the local units and the public. Throughout the year department personnel present educational workshops to the local units on such topics as Board of Review, assessment practices, and assessment administration. In its daily contact with the public the department serves as a source of information concerning property tax and assessment administration.