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Tax Tribunal Decision Threatens Marquette Township Road Repair

Marquette Township Business Association
Marquette Township Treasurer Ernie Johnson speaks to members of the Marquette Township Business Association on April 21st at Perkins Restaurant.

Marquette, MI  –  April 23, 2015  –  A recent Michigan Tax Tribunal decision that adopted the “dark store” methodology of valuing property tax assessment for “big box” stores threatens road repair in Marquette Township.

At a recent meeting of the Marquette Township Business Association, Township Treasurer Ernie Johnson spoke to the group about the impact the Tax Tribunal’s decision will have on the township.

Because of this decision, Johnson said, and the “big box” stores that are taking advantage of it, the township now faces a shortage of $2 million to make the road repairs covered by last year’s millage. Johnson indicated that nine or 10 businesses in Marquette Township have challenged their tax assessment.

When the road construction was originally planned last year, it was unclear whether the “big box” stores seeking tax relief would prevail before the Tax Tribunal. The township construction budget was based on tax revenues that have now been drastically lowered, resulting in the $2 million shortage for the project.

Johnson noted many people supported last year’s millage for road construction because it meant the road in front of their house would get repaired and now that might not happen. The township board is looking at others ways to shore up the loss, but $2 million is a huge amount to make up. Even with asphalt prices 30% lower than the amount originally budgeted due to lower oil prices, Johnson said the savings just won’t add up to the needed $2 million.

“At the last public meeting, we explained the predicament,” said Johnson. “After we get more information from the engineers, we’ll have another public meeting to let the people know what we can and can’t do.”

The next Marquette Township Board Meeting is May 4th at 7 p.m. at the Marquette Township Community Center. More information on road construction should be available at that meeting.

Listen to Dennis Liimatta, Township Supervisor discussing the Michigan Tax Tribunal decision on the 8th Day radio program (Saturdays, 9-10 am on Sunny.fm):

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:



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