Letter to the Editor: Open Meetings Act
Two residents of the Grosse Pointes share their appreciation with the Michigan Tax Commission for prompting changes in Grosse Pointe Park's Board of Review practices.
Thank you State Tax Commission
A year ago, May 9, 2011, we spoke to the city council in Grosse Pointe Park about the violations of the Open Meetings Act and the Property Tax Act by the March 2011 Board of Review. We got vehement denials from the city attorney. We got silence and inaction from the city council.
Given the intransigence of the city officials, we reluctantly reported the violations to Lansing.
The State Tax Commission, appointed by the governor, is responsible for the administration of Michigan’s property tax system. The Commission and its staff issue rules and regulations, and are responsible for training and supervision of the assessors, county equalization departments, and the Boards of Review.
Letters we received from the State Tax Commission detail the promises the Park has made to the State in order to settle our complaint and correct these violations:
- The city attorney advised the Board of Review in writing of their obligations under the Open Meetings Act.
- The city attorney advised the Board to move their meetings out of a conference room and into the courtroom for members of the public to attend the meetings.
- The STC has reminded the city to follow the provisions of both the Open Meetings Act and the Property Tax Act as to the publication of meeting notices.
- The city manager has requested that the assessor prepare minutes in the required detail.
- The city council adopted a resolution to legitimize its long time practice of allowing petitions by letter rather than personal appearance.
- The city attorney advised the STC that the members of the Board have taken the oath of office.
The recent March 2012 meetings were in the courtroom, a big improvement. We will inform STC of the ongoing problems with the oath of office and publication of meeting dates.
We write this letter to express our appreciation to the State Tax Commission for its efforts on behalf of the schools, library, the parks, and the public safety departments that rely upon the fair and proper administration of the property tax system for funding.
The Open Meetings Act is everyone’s best protection against political favoritism that injures our institutions.
Robert Payne, Grosse Pointe Park
Charles Leahy, Grosse Pointe Shores