Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fed Money Flows to Flint

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is handing out $3.9 billion nationwide to help alleviate the foreclosure meltdown. Genesee County's getting $11.7 million. You'd think the money might be used to assist homeowners who are facing foreclosure, right? Well, not exactly.

Joe Lawlor of The Flint Journal reports:
"Nancy Jurkiewicz Rich, the director of the city's Department of Community and Economic Development, said the city will use the money to focus on downpayment assistance and demolitions. The city plans to hire a consultant to help with the grant.

"'For Flint housing rehabilitation is not going to be the highest priority due to the age of the housing stock,' she said."
Wait a minute. Is this really the time to help people who can't come up with a downpayment buy a house? Isn't that one of the major factors that got us into this mess in the first place? Even better, the city's going to pay a consultant to tell them how to do it.

Wouldn't it make more sense to help the folks already in a house keep their home?


  1. Gordie wrote,"Wouldn't it make more sense to help the folks already in a house keep their home?"

    IMHO, I do believe it would.

  2. Anytime I hear "we are hiring a consultant," I think, "well, there goes all the money." I'm beginning to really be glad I left Flint. Before, this website sort of put a nostalgia on the place, but when you see the waste and lack of planning by people there, it's just too frustrating to watch.

  3. And another thing: the "aging" housing stock in Flint is lovely, architecturally unmarred, and perfectly serviceable! Ooh, this burns my butt.

  4. More on the Flint's recent history with HUD:

  5. What is the tax rate like in Michigan and Flint specifically?

  6. William,

    I believe the Flint sales tax rate is 6.00%. Local income tax is 5.40%.

    As for property tax, here's the less-than-simple info from the City of Flint webpage:

    Property Tax Information

    Since the passage of Proposal "A" in 1994, several legislative changes have occurred affecting property tax bills. The Attorney General's Opinion #6911 of 1996 declared the Value Change Multiplier to be unconstitutional, and Public Act 476 of 1996 (HB 5359) made technical amendments to the General Property Tax Act. It should be noted that the statutory requirement for assessments, before and after County and State Equalization is still fifty percent of True Cash Value, and that the Constitution still requires that assessments NOT exceed fifty percent of True Cash Value, before and after County and State Equalization. After County and State Equalization, assessments as equalized become the Taxable Value (Property Tax Base) for every parcel of property subject to the General Property Tax Act that has a Transfer of Ownership in the prior year.

    In an attempt to keep things simple, we will limit our explanation regarding property tax bills to demonstrating how tax bills are calculated for properties located in the City of Flint. Basically, there are two types of property taxes levied in Michigan: principal residence and Non-principal residence. The difference is that principal residence properties are exempted from paying some of the school millage. The formula for calculating tax bills is as follows:

    Taxable Value x # of mills + 1% = Taxes
    The Taxable Value times the millage rate, plus 1% administration fee, equals the taxes due. One mill = $1.00 per thousand dollars of value. The millage rates planned for the current year are certified through the Truth in Taxation process by September 30. However, a sample tax bill calculation using the estimated current millage rates is illustrated below for your assistance in understanding how property tax bills are calculated.

    EXAMPLE: Assume the Taxable Value of your principal residence property is $50,000 and the millage rate is 38.9759 mills. Your tax bill would be calculated as follows:

    $50,000 x .0389759 = $1,948.80
    plus 1% + 19.49
    Total Taxes = $1968.29

    Please remember that the Assessor does not compute or collect property taxes. This example provides a brief overview of the process and for a more detailed explanation, you should contact the City Treasurer in Customer Services.

  7. Wait a minute... State of Michigan sales tax is 6%. State of Michigan income tax is on the rise but perhaps your 5.4% number is true. Flint has no sales tax of its own and its income tax is 1% for residents and 0.5% for non-residents or those working in a place that has its own income tax.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at