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Old 05-10-2009, 11:31 AM
 
412 posts, read 847,515 times
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My husband and I visited Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids yesterday. Grand Rapids has some interesting neighborhoods, but the city income tax plus the property tax turn us off.

East Grand Rapids is a very nice town. We really liked the older, interesting houses.

Why are the property taxes so high, though? What do the residents get for their money? I know that the schools are very good. The library is very nice, but it's not very big (which I understand because it's not that big of a town).
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Old 05-11-2009, 06:49 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,748,233 times
Reputation: 3833
EGR's property taxes are pretty high (about 2.1% of market value). Here's a breakdown:

http://www.eastgr.org/files/millagerates.pdf

Someone who lives in East might be able to break it down for you.
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Denver
2,970 posts, read 6,362,114 times
Reputation: 4828
I don't know everything you get for it, but one nice perk of living in EGR is that in the fall, you just rake all your leaves into the street and they come and take them away. You don't have to bag them or anything!!
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:23 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,019,063 times
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I live in EGR. Taxes are high. There are a number of reasons:
1) Facilities are our schools are top notch. Facilities are paid for by millage requests passed by voters. We have a history (long pre-dating my short tenure here) of passing those millage requests.

2) Our library is top notch. Same thing... before I moved here "we" passed a millage to build that nice new library right on the lake.

3) The city's operating budget is almost entirely funded by residential property taxes. Great city. Great services. VERY few businesses to help fund those things.

4) It's a city. Millage rates in cities are almost always higher than surrounding suburbs to begin with. They're higher in EGR, but if you only compare to other cities in the area, they're not as out of line.

5) Parkland and water amount for a large percentage of the land in EGR. That land doesn't pay taxes to the city, but we all get to use it and the city maintains it (quite nicely)...though I should point out, there is no "citizenship requirement"... you can live somewhere else and enjoy the parks and lake too.

6) Schools in EGR are top-notch. Schools are tax-funded as well.

7) Property values are high. I point this out because while other cities often have equally (or nearly as) high millage rates, but lower values. Since tax-rate is a function of millage-rate and value, you don't always see the high tax bill. Example: I moved here from Kalamazoo. When we moved here the tax rate in Kalamazoo was higher than EGR. However, we paid more than twice as much for our new house as we sold our old house for...and got 250 sq. ft. less to show for it... hoorray... :*( That resulted in a pretty significant increase in our overall tax burden... but one that made sense given the increased property values.
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