Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management

March 15, 2015 



Whereas:       We, the people, of D-REM, a coalition of more than 50 community based organizations, and citizens of the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the state of Michigan do hereby demand that a moratorium be placed on all Tax Foreclosures for a minimum of one year to allow our government to develop a comprehensive plan to address the extraordinary and devastating number of foreclosures that are slated to occur in 2015. It is critically important that our government consider the implementation of the people’s recommendations placed in this resolution to deal with this problem of tax foreclosures that has reached catastrophic proportions. 

Whereas:       D-REM is extremely concerned about the tax foreclosure crisis that is threatening to overwhelm the quality of life and neighborhood stability in the city of Detroit for many, many years into our future. There are 62,000 properties headed to tax foreclosure in 2015 citywide. More than 30,000 properties will go to a tax foreclosure Auction to be sold for $500.00 or to the highest bidder if nothing is done in the interim.

Whereas:       More than 100,000 residents of Detroit could potentially be displaced; that is the equivalent of 1/6 of the city’s population. This would be devastating to those families that are forced to leave their homes. It will be equally horrific for those families that have paid their taxes and will continue to be residents of the city because of the conditions that follow the unprecedented number of foreclosures.

Whereas:       We, the people, implore our government at every level, local, county, state and federal to establish economic justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for our common defense, promote the general welfare and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Whereas:       The Wayne County Tax Assessor and the City of Detroit Assessor by virtue of the Michigan General Property Tax Law are responsible for appraising residential and commercial property for the assessment and equalization purposes which include the compilations and analysis of sales, cost, and income data related to property valuation. This analysis according to the law should be completed every five years. It is well known to our government officials that this analysis has not been completed in more than 20 years. This makes the government in non-compliance with the law which has subsequently had an extremely adverse effect on all property owners’ tax bill each of those 20 years.

Whereas:       The financial crisis that began in 2002 after some years of targeted predatory lending practices also contributed to the collapse of property values in the city of Detroit. Moreover, the city of Detroit and Wayne County Assessor’s Offices have used these artificially inflated property values to place unfair property tax assessments on property owners’ for more than 13 years.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT ‘WE, THE PEOPLE,’ of D-REM, in the city of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan do hereby submit to each of the four government entities our demands for action by way of our elected representatives: Detroit Councilman Gabe Leland; Wayne County Commissioner Irma Clark-Coleman; State Senator Virgil K. Smith; Michigan House of Representatives Fred Durhal III; Mayor Mike Duggan; Wayne County Executive Warren Evans; Governor Rick Snyder; Congressman John Conyers; Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence; U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow; and U.S. Senator Gary Peters.

We, the People, Demand:

  • That a moratorium be enacted on all tax foreclosures for one year to allow the government to develop a fair, equitable and comprehensive plan to deal with unfair tax burdens and delinquent taxes.
  • That the Wayne County Assessor and the City of Detroit Assessor shall complete their lawful duties and responsibilities of an Assessment and Appraisal of all properties in the RWSAA and the city of Detroit before the end of a self-imposed moratorium on tax foreclosures.
  • That it is imperative that all onerous penalties for the delinquent payments of property taxes be stopped immediately and a moratorium imposed for one year.
  • That the Detroit City Assessor office allow two months instead of two weeks for property owners in the largest city in the state of Michigan to challenge their SEV assessments.
  • That the city of Detroit Council and Mayor commission and pay for a study to be done to determine the adverse impacts of these unfair and unjust SEV Tax Assessments from 2002 to 2015 and to make recommendations as to what should be done to make the tax payers’ whole, such as; [how much money should be refunded to property tax payers?]
  • That more programs be enacted that eliminate the onerous back taxes and penalties and allows property owners to start fresh.

We, do hereby adopt by way of our Communication Task Force and submit this Resolution on the 15th day of March 2015.