PROPOSAL N IS JUST ANOTHER $250 MILLION PROPERTY TAX
Mike Duggan says taxes will not go up, but Detroit’s total debt will be further extended–do Detroiters want another bankruptcy?
Detroiters already over-assessed $600 MILLION in property taxes, Duggan has refused to give refund or property tax credit
By Agnes Hitchcock, Steward, Call ’em Out
October 30, 2020
DETROIT--Call ’em Out encourages all Detroiters to VOTE NO ON PROPOSAL N on November 3. It is a $250 MILLION PROPERTY TAX On homeowners in the poorest, Blackest city in America.
Detroit homeowners continue to be under merciless assault from the administration of Mayor Mike Duggan. On December 17, 2019 hundreds of Detroit taxpayers demanded that the City Council vote down Mayor Mike Duggan’s proposed $250 Million bond proposal to demolish 18,000 homes stating it was an enormous tax after being illegally taxed to the tune of $600 million, resulting in illegal foreclosures.
In the midst of both a COVID-19 and a racism pandemic, ravaging Detroit citizens, families, neighbors, loved ones, Duggan and these heartless city council members sneaked it through in our distraction.
In addition to Proposal N, property owners were over-assessed more than $600 million for over six years. The city of Detroit’s administration via Mayor Mike Duggan refuses to give property taxpayers a refund or a property tax credit. Many Detroit property taxpayers have lost their homes for property taxes we never owed in the first place.
Proposal N is a Property Tax burden which our community should not be asked to fund. Our city’s administration says these property taxes will further fund the Land Bank Authority. Not only should we not be asked to fund this tax proposal, our community receives little to no benefit from the Land Bank Authority by way of improvement to our neighborhoods, contracts, jobs or small business development.
The Land Bank Authority has been the focus of local and state reviews and a federal criminal probe that culminated in bid-rigging charges. The Land Bank Authority plays a major part in the mismanagement of tax dollars and further gentrification in the city of Detroit.
A recent article in the Detroit News written by Christine Ferretti, “Audit of Detroit Land Bank Flags Weak Controls, Demolition Records,” provides further reason not to support this tax proposal. This article appears to have been written based on findings in a report from Stout Risius Ross.
- unexplained bank reconciliations and transactions not recorded in the land bank’s ledger,
- unapproved vendor payments and payroll discrepancies.
- “inability of the land bank to provide a property-by-property accounting of amounts paid per demolished property” as well as the state-level reimbursements received under the federal program.
- The audit also flagged worries over controls for the land bank’s Demolition Advance Fund.
- The audit contends the land bank has been unable to account for the amounts it has paid contractors and received as reimbursements for property under the federal program.
- The audit identified $315 million in payments the land bank made to 629 different recipients over the review period. However, 79 recipients — comprising $50.8 million in funds — “were made to recipients not included on the DLBA’s approved vendor list,” the July 27 report contends.
Of the $50.8 million, about $24.2 million went to (demolition) vendors with names similar to those on the approved vendor list. The remaining $26.6 million, it says, was paid to other vendors “not on the approved vendor list in any capacity.”
“Even minor discrepancies in these details can be a red flag of fraudulent activity where an unauthorized payment is made but disguised as a legitimate payment to an approved vendor,”
The audit says the land bank was unable to demonstrate that the advance fund was used for its intended purpose or if it has controls to prevent misuse.
Proposal N is a property tax which Detroit property taxpayers must not be asked to fund under any circumstances. VOTE NO!!
Selections from Bankole Thompson’s interview of AGNES HITCHCOCK:
AGNES HITCHCOCK: Mike Duggan and his administration rarely get the scrutiny heaped on prior Black administrations. He is allowed conflict of interest passes such as the preferential treatment his administration gave to the Make Your Date program under its director Dr. Sonia Hassan and how the city directed more than $358, 000 in federal grants to the program, reports about bid rigging in the administration, Black contractors losing out on opportunity, cronyism passes, residency passes, shoddy accounting passes in the Detroit Land Bank Authority.
AGNES HITCHCOCK: This situation we are in has and will set our community back for generations. Homeownership is the foundation of our community’s wealth, which is the major avenue for starting to build wealth in our community. . . Selling a home seized from a Black homeowner for (unpaid) taxes and selling that home to a white person for 25% of its value and then providing restoration funds to the new white owner has the intended impact of Black removal.