After a year of negotiating a state Tax Tribunal settlement with the Oakland County Equalization Division, the Orchard Lake Country Club will be receiving a tax refund complements of the city of Orchard Lake Village, area schools, and the county.
The Orchard Lake City Council approved the settlement at its Monday, July 16 meeting.
The club’s Tax Tribunal case applies to the 2009-2012 tax years.
At issue was the main piece of property where the golf course and clubhouse are located, along with the smaller out-lot on Elmgate Drive, where a pumphouse is situated.
Initially the country club requested a 43 percent tax reduction for the main piece of property.
The initial assessment pegged the property’s taxable value for 2009 at $6.1 million, and the club requested a decrease in that assessment to $3.5 million; for 2010, it was assessed at $5.6 million and the club asked for a modification to $3.2 million. For 2011, the taxable value was assessed at $4.9 million, but the club requested that be changed to $2.8 million. For 2012, it was assessed at $4.7 million and the club asked for a reduction to $2.7 million.
“These are typically settled before going to the state tribunal because of added attorney and appraisal fees,” said Orchard Lake Director of City Services Gerry McCallum.
Both parties compromised, resulting in a 2009 taxable value of $4.9 million (a 19.6 percent reduction); $4.6 million (a 17.8 percent reduction) for 2010; a taxable value of $4.1 million (a 16.3 percent drop) for 2011; and a $3.8 million taxable value (19.1 percent decrease) for 2012.
Orchard Lake Country Club member Dave Boerger said the assessed value of the property was off the mark in the first place.
“The club isn’t getting a windfall,” Boerger said of the pending refund. “The club property is overvalued and we’re all paying more than we should, along with other residents. The city, county and schools will now have to refund this.”
However, the club property is zoned for residential land use — unlike most country clubs, which are typically zoned for recreational land use — which makes the club’s property worth more.
“We are asking the Oakland County assessor to look at the difference and the effect on the assessment,” said Orchard Lake Mayor Bruce McIntyre.
The total refund for the country club amounts to $196,367 between the schools, county and the city. Orchard Lake’s portion is $35,657.
The city budgeted $70,000 for tax tribunal cases this year.