Macomb Township looking to sell land

By: Robert Guttersohn | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published October 31, 2012

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Supervisor Mark Grabow is hoping to clear out unused, township-owned land and put it up for sale to developers and homeowners.

“Many of these properties, we wind up cutting the grass and maintaining,” Grabow said at the Oct. 24 Board of Trustees meeting. “This is becoming costly to us.”

The township owns about 87 acres of tax-delinquent properties. Grabow said some of the parcels could be useful to the township because they can be made into parks. But others are simply draining the general fund.

“Some of the properties are landlocked and completely useless to us,” he said.

Grabow made the suggestion at the meeting after he said several residents were writing in, asking the township to put the parcels up for sale. He said if the parcels were sold, the township could begin collecting taxes on them.

It’s an advantage for Macomb to buy tax-delinquent properties because, otherwise, the township would be responsible for reimbursing the tax bill to the county, said township Clerk Michael Koehs.

He explained that when a property owner can no longer pay their property taxes, the township notifies the county. The county pays the township the amount owed in taxes, then tries to retrieve the taxes from the property owner. When that fails, the property goes to auction. The county will attempt to recoup the amount owed if possible. If it cannot, the county sells the land at a cheaper rate and goes back to the township to pay the difference.

For example, Koehs said if a property is delinquent by $10,000 and the county can only sell it for $3,000, the township owes the county $7,000. In order to prevent being footed for the bill, the township will buy the land, if it is cheaper than the amount they would owe the county.

Koehs said he and the rest of the board would consider selling the properties once Grabow brings it to them for a vote.

“We would certainly consider it,” Koehs said.

Grabow doesn’t want to sell all the acreage though. He said one of the parcels is a 45-acre lot at the corner of Foss and 24 Mile roads that the township should consider turning into a park.

He pointed to four specific parcels that people have expressed interest in.

Grabow said he is having the township’s assessor look into the potential value of the four parcels and plans to bring their sales to vote at the Nov. 14 meeting.

“The economy is coming back up, and we need to look at these properties and get them for sale,” Grabow said.