Detroit Charter

The Detroit Charter and City Government

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Annotations By: Jacqueline Bejma

Sec. 8-601. Power To Assess

The city can declare by resolution that it will defray the cost of a local public improvement expense through a special assessment

Special assessments can be levied before, during or after making an improvement

A 2/3 majority of city council must approve a special assessment that is levied after beginning a local public improvement project

The City may determine that the whole or any part of the expense of any local public improvement or repair shall be defrayed by special assessments upon the property specially benefited and so declare by resolution.

Special assessments may be levied before, during, or after the making of the improvement. However, where special assessments are not levied until after commencement of a local public improvement, the resolution levying those assessments shall not be effective unless approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of City Council members serving after all interested parties have been given an opportunity to be heard on all relevant issues, including necessity.

Sec. 8-602. Special Assessments to Finance Transit Facilities

Any local improvement or repair of public transportation or rapid transit can be financed by special assessment

Included within section 8-601 is the power to finance any local improvements or repair for public transportation or rapid transit facilities through special assessments to the maximum extent permitted by law.

Sec. 8-603. Procedure Ordinance

The special assessment procedure must be take place by ordinance

The complete special assessment procedure to be used, including the preparing of plans and specifications; estimated costs; the preparation, hearing and correction of the special assessment roll; the collection of special assessments; the assessment of single lots of parcels; and any other matters concerning the making of improvements by the special assessment method, shall be provided by ordinance. The ordinance shall authorize additional assessments, if the prior assessments prove insufficient to pay for the improvement or is determined to be invalid, in whole or in part, and shall also provide for the refund of excess assessments; however, if the excess is less than five percent (5%) of the total costs as defined by ordinance, it may be placed in the general fund of the City.

Sec. 8-604. Assessment Lien

The full amount of an assessment is the responsibility of the real property owner on the day of the assessment; this can be collected just like delinquent property taxes

From the date of confirmation of any roll levying any special assessment, the full amount of the assessment and all interest thereon shall constitute a lien on the property subject thereto and that amount shall also be a debt of the person to whom assessed until paid and, in case of delinquency, may be collected as delinquent city property taxes.

Sec. 8-605. Contest of Assessments

In order to contest a special assessment in court, one must:

  1. Protest the special assessment at a hearing confirming the special assessment roll
  2. The action is taken within 35 days of confirmation of the roll stating that the assessment is illegal
  3. If Corporation Counsel finds the roll illegal, the City Council may revoke its confirmation

City Council may pass an ordinance that provides a process for appeal of special assessments in accordance with State law

No action of any kind may be instituted for the purpose of contesting or enjoining the collection of any special assessment (a) unless, the special assessment is first protested at the hearing held for the purpose of confirming the special assessment roll; and (b) the action is commenced within thirty-five (35) days after the final decision, ruling, determination or order confirming the roll. If the Corporation Counsel submits a written opinion finding the roll illegal, in whole or in part, the City Council may revoke its confirmation, correct the illegality, if possible, and reconfirm it, provided that no property shall be assessed more than was imposed upon the original confirmation without further notice and hearing thereon.

City Council may by ordinance provide a process for contest of special assessments which is in accordance with state law and is not inconsistent with this section.

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