How To Start The Process
Recognizing the clear advantages offered by the Township's program as compared to that of Oakland County, this guide outlines only the Township's procedures.
The object of this phase is to ascertain a preliminary cost per individual property. The Township, due to its' limited resources, needs to know that more than 50% of the affected property owners have signed a petition requesting a preliminary road resurfacing estimate. (Suggested petition language following this guide below as Exhibit A).
This does two things:
1. Allows the neighborhood organizers to poll the mood of their neighbors and;
2. Lets the Township know the property owners are serious before they commit resources to assemble the data.
If a majority cannot be gathered by the initial petition then the matter ends without further action on the part of the Township.
However, if the homeowners group can gather a majority of property owner signatures the Townships' Engineering & Environmental Services department (EESD) will respond with a preliminary estimate based on recent historical data. This estimate is intended to offer a sum within 10% of the actual costs of improvements including all related soft costs. The estimate will be expressed in terms of the likely assessment levied against each benefiting property. It will not include the annual assessment installment since that will be influenced by the bond market rate at the time the bonds are sold. It is expected that the neighborhood organizers would circulate the Township's estimate information among the property owners to see if there is enough support to proceed to Phase II.
1. Assuming sufficient support, the organizers must make a request, in writing, to the Township Supervisor stating their desire to proceed with the Township's special assessment process.
2. The Township's Engineering & Environmental Services Department (EESD), or their engineering consultant, will prepare an official petition with a cost estimate for construction. The official petition will be given to the residents for circulation within the district. The petition must be signed by more than 50% of the property owners and more than 50% of the frontage on the road to be paved. The petition must be presented to all property owners in the district. Any property owners not in favor of the project should not sign the petition.
3. The petition must be returned to the Engineering & Environmental Services Department within 90 days of release. A copy of the petition is sent to the Assessing Department for verification of signatures.
4. After 50% of the property owners and 50% of the total frontage are determined to be met, the EESD will present the petition and request a the Public Hearing of Necessity at the next available Township Board meeting. The Township will consider accepting the official petition to create the special assessment district for the improvements. If approved, the Township Board will set a date for the Public Hearing of Necessity. Formal notice will be published by the Township Clerk for the Public Hearing, inviting all property owners within the district for comments on the proposed project.
5. The Township Board will open the Public Hearing of Necessity and listen to comments from property owners within the district. At the close of the hearing the Township Board will vote to proceed or reject the project. If the Board votes to proceed, this resolution also authorizes the Township's engineering consultant to prepare construction drawings and specifications for bidding. The Board will also schedule the second meeting Public Hearing of the Assessment Roll.
6. After bids are received, the EESD will determine the final project cost and the Township Assessor will determine the final property assessments. Property owners within the district will be notified of the assessment amount for the road paving project. At the Public Hearing of the Assessment Roll, property owners are given the opportunity to speak and comment on the assessment. If the Board adopts the resolution confirming the assessment roll, the the Township Board will award the contract to the lowest qualified bidder recommended by the EESD. Residents with the district have 30 days to appeal their assessment to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. If no appeals have been filed, the Township may proceed with construction of the improvements.
7. Once the project is approved and the assessment confirmed, the property owners will be invoiced their assessment concurrent with the start of construction. Property owners have the option to pay the assessment in full or finance the assessment up to 15 years. Assessments being financed will be billed annually on the anniversary date of the first assessment.
8. Construction will continue throughout the duration of the contract. Prior to the final acceptance of the work, the Township will inspect the restoration of the disturbed area to insure work is complete.
The construction contact includes tying in all joining driveways and replacing concrete curbing where it current exists. To view a completed project within the Township, you may visit Adams Square Subdivision located at the northwest corner of Square Lake and Squirrel Roads. This project was completed in August, 2012 with most residents expressing their satisfaction.
Anticipated Timing of the Special Assessment District (SAD) Process
Once the official petition is submitted to the Township, the Assessors and Attorney will review and certify the petition.
Below is the estimated time-line of the SAD process.
Start - Township Board accepts petition, declares the intent to proceed with the project and schedules first public hearing.
Day 30 – Township Board hold Public Hearing of Necessity and authorizes for project to be bid. The second Public Hearing is scheduled after the bids are due.
Day 90 – Township Board holds Public Hearing on the Assessment. The assessment roll is confirmed and the bid awarded.
Day 120 – Construction begins and the first assessment is billed.
This time-line is subject to change based on complexity of the project and time of year.
Paving construction should start no earlier than April 15 and no later than October 15th.
This time-line does not include the process for securing financing. Additional Board meetings and actions may be necessary for selling the bonds.
Suggested Language for Phase I - Initial Polling Petition:
TO: Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees
4200 Telegraph Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
We, the undersigned property owner request that a proposal be prepared regarding the paving of public streets abutting properties represented herein. The proposal shall outline the type of improvement to be accomplished, state the estimated total costs and the method of apportioning cost to the benefiting properties.
The improvement would be accomplished through the Charter Township of Bloomfield, Oakland County by Special Assessment in accordance with the provisions and procedures provided for in Act 188 of Public Acts of 1954
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About the SAD Process
What does Special Assessment mean?
The term “Special Assessment” describes a method of financing public improvements by distributing the cost of a project over those property owners who will receive a special benefit. The assessment is billed to the property owner annually by the Township.
What defines the District?
A Special Assessment District (SAD) is the area of land or list of properties, called a “SAD Roll”, which would directly or indirectly benefit from the proposed improvements. For example, all properties with frontage on a road to be paved would be directly benefited.
Who can start a Special Assessment project?
Special Assessments may be initiated either 1) through a resolution by the Township Board or, 2) at the request of a property owner(s) whose property would be included in the district to be benefited by the improvement and specially assessed.
How is this project initiated?
For road improvements, a petition must be circulated and returned with signatures of not less than 51% of the real property owners in the district based upon total front footage of the parcels according to Public Act 188. In addition, the Township recommends that not less than 51% of the property owners sign the petition in support. Only signatures on the official petition forms prepared by the Township will be counted.
Who signs the petition?
The current property owner(s) of record must sign the petition. Please note that both spouses must sign the petition regardless if the property is in only one of the names. If the property is owned by a trust, the person or persons signing the petition must be the duly appointed trustee(s) and sign in their capacity as trustee(s), i.e. the words “As Trustee” must be included with the signature. If the property is subject to terms of a land contract, both vendor and vendee must sign the petition i.e. the words “As Vendor” or “As Vendee” must accompany the signature.
How are the assessments calculated?
Assessments are determined based on dividing the total project’s cost by the number of parcels to be served by the improvement.
What costs are included in a Special Assessment District?
SAD costs include the cost of services, preparing plans, condemnation of easements or property needed, spreading of assessment rolls, notices, advertising, financing, construction and legal fees, as well as other costs incidental to the making of the proposed improvements including a reasonable rate of interest on the outstanding balance of your assessment.
What costs in a Special Assessment District will be the responsibility of the Township?
The Township does not contribute any funding towards a SAD project; however the Township is responsible for providing project management and administration at no additional expense to the project.
Do the residents have a say in how the assessments are determined?
No. Once the petitions are submitted, the Township has the sole responsibility to determine the assessments and project specifications. The Township will follow the Public Act 188, the Township Charter, and the road assessment guidelines that are appropriate.
Can a homeowner address the Township Board regarding this project?
If a valid petition is submitted, the Township will consider moving the project forward. If the Township Board elects to accept the petition, there will be two (2) public hearings. The first public hearing will be scheduled to hear resident objections or support of the project necessity. The second public hearing will be held to hear resident objections or support of the project assessments and on the SAD roll.
When will the assessments begin?
The Township Board will establish the date of the first assessment at the time the SAD roll is confirmed and will then be levied annually on that date. According to current Township policy, the assessment can be paid over a 15 year period at an interest rate determined by the Township Board and not to exceed 6% on the unpaid balance yearly.
Will the Township subordinate the SAD lien?
No. Once the Special Assessment District is established and the assessment roll is set, the Township places a lien on your property in the amount of your assessment. During the term of the SAD, should you sell your home or possibly even change mortgage companies you will be required to pay off the assessment including any unpaid interest prorated to the date of final payment before the Township will discharge the lien.
What are the payoff requirements?
Prior to the first payment becoming due the assessment may be paid off in full without incurring any interest. Similarly, the assessment may be paid off at any time during the term of the Special Assessment including any unpaid interest prorated to the date of final payment. There are no pre-payment penalties.
What happens if the actual cost of the project differs from the original estimates?
When the bids are received, if the project costs exceed the estimate by 10%, the petitions will be revised with the actual costs, and circulated again. The revised petition is only valid for 30 days with these actual bid costs.
For questions relating to the Special Assessment District, contact the Township Supervisor's office at 248-433-7708.
Prepared for United Homeowners Association
by HOA Online
Source: Bloomfield Township Engineering & Environmental Services information release dated September, 2012