The city of Wixom will be placing two city-owned properties up for sale that it acquired through the Oakland County Tax Forfeiture Program.
One of the properties is located at 2036 Millstream Drive, north of West Maple Road. The 0.20-acre parcel cost the city $1,763.
The second property, located at 3870 West Maple, is just east of Millstream Drive. It is approximately 0.12 acres and cost the city $741.
The Oakland County Tax Forfeiture Program goes into effect when property taxes are not paid for three years. At that time, Oakland County puts up a notice that the property will be put up for auction.
However, the municipality gets the first right of refusal on the property and pays only back taxes on the property to acquire it. If the municipality opts not to acquire the property, it goes up for auction. If there are no buyers, another auction is held 60 days later. If, at that point, there are no parties interested, the deed is handed over to the city and no back taxes must be remitted.
The city pays for any property through its land acquisition fund, which has about $900,000 in its coffers.
“We use it as a revolving fund and buy and sell property and keep those levels up,” said City Manager Mike Dornan.
The fund is used to buy property for a variety of reasons. Currently the city owns roughly 599 acres, of which 364 acres belong to the Wixom Habitat.
“We used the funds to purchase the Wixom Habitat to preserve wetlands in perpetuity,” Dornan said.
Once city administration reviewed the two vacant parcels, it was determined that they were unbuildable and had no practical use. Therefore, the city has opted to dispose of them via an ordinance. Since the properties are unclassified, they could be used for private economic development purposes.
The city is now moving forward with the disposal process by first advertising; soliciting proposals with special notices sent to the abutting homeowners; and scheduling individual public hearings for the proposed sale of each property.
The City Council would then act on the sale contract of each property.
“The abutting property owners could split the parcel and extend their back yards,” Dornan said. “We think it’s smart business and the goal is to put properties back on the tax rolls by selling them to logical purchasers at a nominal cost.”