Contacting the Michigan Treasury Dept. to what Garden City is using as their authority which is Linked. I received this response and it was broken down to its meaning then a final response and pay attention to it.
As sited in the report, the city uses their charter as authority to levy the special assessment. In MCL 117.4d cities are given the ability to include in their charter direction for levying a special assessment for lighting as stated below:
THE HOME RULE CITY ACT (EXCERPT)
Act 279 of 1909
117.4d Permissible charter provisions; assessing costs of public improvement and boulevard lighting system; definitions.
(1) Each city may in its charter provide:
(a) For assessing and reassessing the costs, or a portion of the costs, of a public improvement to a special district.
(b) For assessing the cost, or a portion of the costs, of installing a boulevard lighting system on a street upon the lands abutting the street. A city shall not establish a special assessment district for a boulevard lighting system if the district includes the entire city, unless the special assessments against the real property within the district are levied on other than an ad valorem basis.
(2) As used in this section:
(a) “Boulevard lighting system” means any design or method of providing light to a street.
(b) “Cost” includes necessary condemnation cost and necessary expenses incurred for engineering, financial, legal, or administrative services; operation and maintenance of a boulevard lighting system, whether that service is provided directly by the city or is provided by an investor-owned utility; and other services of a similar kind involved in the making and financing of the improvement and in the levying and collecting of the special assessments for the improvement. If the service is rendered by city employees, the city may include the fair and reasonable cost of rendering the service. The inclusion of a cost specified in this subdivision as part of the cost of an improvement for which special assessments have been levied before the effective date of the 1987 amendatory act amending this section is validated.
(c) “Street” means a public avenue, street, highway, road, path, boulevard, or alley or other access used for travel by the public.
Final Statement by Darcy Marusich – MarusichD@michigan.gov
To see exactly what authority and the limit of that authority that the city has, you will need to look to the charter that the residents voted on and approved at the time of the cities creation. According to the city lighting report you sent, that authority would be contained in their Code of Ordinances, section 40.11. You should be able to obtain access to that information from your city offices.
§ 40.11 ASSESSMENT DISTRICT FOR STREET LIGHTING AND SIMILAR SERVICES.
All improvements consisting of the construction, installation, maintenance and operation of systems, facilities and equipment for street lighting or other similar services shall be accomplished pursuant to the improvement procedure provisions provided under §§ 40.03 to 40.08, both inclusive, of this chapter, except and provided, however, that where such construction or installation is performed by the Detroit Edison Company, or some other public utility company, and the cost thereof is not charged to the city or the users of the service, then in such case:
(A) The report and recommendation of the City Manager, which may be required under § 40.03, shall omit all information as to cost of construction and shall include all other information required by said § 40.03, together with such schedules of existing rates and service charges as may be submitted to the city by the Detroit Edison Company or other public utility; and the Council, in acting on such report pursuant to § 40.05, shall consider only such matters as are required by this division;
(B) Neither the whole or any part of such cost of construction shall be assessed against any property within the proposed special assessment district;
(C) The regular, approved rates for such service, as charged to the city, less the amount thereof constituting a general obligation of the city, shall be annually assessed upon the property especially benefitted, as provided in §§ 40.05, 40.06, 40.07, and 40.08;
(D) All other sections of this chapter which are inconsistent with or contrary to the intent of this section, are hereby made and declared to be inapplicable to all assessments made under this section; and
(E) The Department of Public Services is hereby authorized to adopt reasonable rules and regulations governing the administration of this section.
(Ord. 11-012, passed 9-12-11)
Again final statement by the Mi. Treasury Dept employee.
“you will need to look to the charter that the residents voted on and approved at the time of the cities creation”.
That’s the thing people there was no Lighting District upon the city’s creation. Former City Manager Darwin McClary invented 40.11 straight out of his ass in 2011 without a residential vote. The council alone voted and passed this fiasco on 9-12-11.
One councilwoman voting no from the very start and against this assessment I spoke with a few weeks ago in-depth, Jody Dodge.
At the Oct. 8th (2012) meeting she once again was adamant about her opinion on the matter stating;
“You can create a district to assess for improvements, but you can’t create a lighting district to pay for maintenance and cost,” said Dodge who voted no to approve the assessment roll. “I’d like the council to look at other alternatives. I’d like the council to look at other items in the budget.”
The only other NO vote was councilman Jim Kerwin. The sitting city manager wasn’t allowed a vote.
My pertinent question to her and the Mi. Treasury was is the extra money Garden City has put onto every single residents Winter Tax bill legal?
Darcy Marusich had said that the state had no jurisdiction over the city’s. But Jody Dodge’s answer was a straight out NO.
Since 2011 Garden City residents have paid this special assessment but it is solely being used for one thing and one thing only. To PAY GARDEN CITY’S DTE BILL.