What is a special assessment district?
SAD’s - the short version:
1-SAD’s are initiated by petition of the residents by an organized group wanting the change and willing to pay for it.
2-If there is enough support, the township board may begin a 3-meeting process, with public hearings, during which the petitioning group provides detailed reports of the scope and costs of the project; preferably 3 bids for comparison. (This takes place over 3 months and is timed to allow for approval and submission to the county to be on the winter tax bill.)
3-if approved by the board, the money is collected from those in the assessment district via their tax bill.
4-all expenditures must be approved by the govt body and follow the plan & costs previously submitted to the board and taxpayers and are held at the regular monthly meetings to reduce costs. Since it is run through the government, we must comply with the meeting schedule, documentation and payment requirements. Therefore, change is not always easy, quick or without additional costs.
Some residents/organizations have enough support to do a project on their own without asking the township to collect money for their project via taxes. The benefit here is this is often quicker and more flexible than what a government can legally offer. The drawback may be collection of money, but if there is enough support then it is not any more difficult than getting signed petitions. In either case, open meetings and legal compliance remain key. Some deciding factors may be: the size and cost of the project (very large or very small); do you have the expertise needed for such a project; is there overwhelming support for this project or just a few who feel strongly; is there enough support from the residents to develop enough expertise to run it themselves.
(SAD) Public improvements authorized by Public Act 188 of 1954, as amended (MCL 41.721). include:
• The construction, improvement, and maintenance of storm or sanitary systems, water systems, public roads, public parks, or private roads, sidewalk. bicycle paths, lighting systems.
• The collection and disposal of garbage and rubbish
• The eradication or control of aquatic weeds and plants
• The construction, improvement, and maintenance of a lake, pond, river, stream, lagoon, or other body of water or of an improvement to the body of water. This includes, but is not limited to, dredging (if allowed).
GOVERNMENT LAKE BOARDS ARE GREAT!
SAD's can formed for many purposes: roads, lights, etc. But lakes are alive and so only lakes can have a Government Lake Board. Government Lake Boards (NR-EPA Public Act 451) are great!
They offer a lake association member (riparian landowner) a seat a the table and a vote! The other board members have expertise in local water management (ie: drain commissioner) and this board dedicated solely to the health and treatment of your lake! Every meeting is about your lake, it's needs and services.
Lake boards do not replace the need or role of the lake association, it replaces the township board with members that have more expertise and a singular focus, making for better discussion and decisions.
Most GLB members are not paid to attend meetings, but they can be. If needed, the GLB can and should retain an attorney to stay current with legal requirements, guidelines and deadlines. GLB meetings are efficient and open to everyone!
For a summary of Weed District/SAD process, click here