Davison Twp. residents concerned about assessor's plans - WNEM TV 5

Davison Twp. residents show concern about assessor's plans to enter homes

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DAVISON TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

Just picture a property assessor coming to your front door and asking that you let them in so they can determine how much your home costs. That's exactly what's happening in one Mid-Michigan community, and some homeowners do not approve.

In a standing-room only crowd, many Davison Township residents let it be known they do not want township employees inside their homes.

"I don't understand how these types of decisions can be made," said one township resident.

"What do you need to go into our house for?" asked another township resident.

The majority voiced that same concern Monday night at the Davison Township board meeting.  The controversy stems from a letter sent to township homeowners. In the letter, Township Assessor Kim Nickerson states in order to properly assess home values, and in effect taxes, she must see the inside.

"I am responsible for coming up with market value on each and every property in the township," said Nickerson.

Paul Lukasavitz has lived in the township for 20 years. He expressed serious concern with this demand and said he believes this violates his constitutional rights.

"It's just not right. It's not right by the Fourth Amendment," said Lukasavitz.

The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable searches.

At the meeting, many people showed concern about the assessor coming into their home and determining their home value and home assessment on the type of paint they're using or the type of carpet they have down. Nickerson said she can't do that. She said she can only go in to verify the number of fireplaces, bathrooms and whether or not the basement is finished.

"In order for us to come up with that market value, I have to be able to physically see what's there."

With backing from the State Tax Commission, she said she has the right to look inside.  Homeowners also have the right to deny her entry to their property, but if they do that, she's forced to estimate the home's value.

"I'd like to see the State of Michigan say an assessor can't enter a private home without a warrant," said Lukasavitz.

And many people Monday night asked if this policy is right.

State Senator Dave Robertson was also at Monday night's meeting. He told the board and residents he was making notes to take back to Lansing, but wouldn't elaborate on changes that might occur.

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