St. Joseph County treasurer Judith Ratering has included the county in a state program designed to assist homeowners who have fallen behind on their property taxes.
“Help for Hardest Hit; Step Forward, Michigan” is a state initiative to assist homeowners who have endured a financial hardship and are unable to catch up on their property taxes.
Discussing the program last week before the county board of commissioners, Ratering said if a prospective recipient is determined eligible, a one-time payment will be sent directly to the county treasurer to pay delinquent taxes.
Ratering and her participating peers across the state are partnering with the Michigan Housing Development Authority to help Michigan’s hardest hit avoid foreclosure and remain in their home. The program is supported through $498 million in federal funds.
Homeowners may apply for assistance through the website stepforwardmichigan.org.
Voters in the Three Rivers Community Schools district will be asked later this year to renew a non-homestead tax that generated more than $3.7 million last year.
The 20-year-request will appear before voters in May, as the current non-homestead tax is expiring soon and renewal of what is currently more than 17.2 mills the district collects is essential to its operations, according to Superintendent Roger Rathburn.
After discussing the matter at Monday’s board of education meeting, district officials agreed to pursue a renewal that, if approved, would equal 18.2242 mills. The amount in excess of 18 mills would help offset expected reductions over the course of the next 20 years.
Non-homestead tax is collected only from businesses and owners of a secondary residence within the district’s boundaries.
As the Michigan House of Representatives’ 2011-12 legislative session reaches its halfway point, State Rep. Matt Lori said 2011 has been a year of significant reform resulting in a leaner, more-efficient government.
Lori added that steps taken in 2011 show that House members concluded a year of business-tax reforms budgetary restraints and making state spending more transparent.
The Constantine-area resident said he and his peers made a number of tough decisions but as a result, the state is experiencing its lowest unemployment rate in three years and is slowly shedding its reputation of having a poor business climate.
Highlights noted by Lori include a new law calling for double bunking jail inmates and passage of a bill that removes a requirement that the legislature revisit an assessment place on nursing homes on an annual basis. He also cited a balanced state budget, downsizing government benefits, and tax reforms as other positive steps in 2011.