OWOSSO CITY MANAGER NATHAN HENNE (second from left) discusses threshold poverty exemptions with council members during the Monday evening meeting.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)


   The city of Owosso approved threshold poverty exemptions for property owners for 2020 during the regular council meeting on Monday, Nov. 18. The agenda item included council discussion on the topic. Four poverty exemption options were offered and talked about during the council meeting. In short, the city can’t set local poverty exemptions lower than what is established by federal poverty guidelines, which are updated annually. Prior to 2015, the city simply went with the federal poverty guidelines, but since that time, the city has used a blended-income calculation.

   During the Monday evening meeting, the council voted six to zero to continue basing property tax exemptions following poverty guidelines under a blended-income calculation in 2020. Property owners who meet the new property/income asset guidelines and supply the application for consideration for property tax exemption, won’t have to pay city property taxes.

   The 2020 Income Standards Poverty Threshold for the city, provided during the council meeting, will permit a one-person household an allowable income of $18,160. The federal guideline allows for $12,490. The city voted for the 40-percent difference as it is established through the State of Michigan Housing Development Authority.

   Owosso City Manager Nathan Henne explained that the blended rate creates a new threshold that is more beneficial to property owners. Mayor Chris Eveleth shared that he believes it is “one small thing we can do to help even a few extra people.”

   Under the newly approved guidelines, roughly 18 households will be eligible in 2020.

   According to a memorandum from Treena Chick, city assessor, Owosso contacted “all the municipalities in Shiawassee County and it appears that we are the only one who uses the blended income thresholds.” After the approval, the city of Owosso will continue holding the highest Threshold Poverty Exemptions in Shiawassee County.

   During the meeting, Henne also commented that the city water meter installation project has been completed and is detailed in his city manager report. The consent agenda included giving permission to the First United Methodist Church for street closures related to the upcoming annual living nativity on Saturday, Dec. 7. Glow Owosso was also granted permission for street closures connected to the Friday, Nov. 29 Glow Owosso activities.    

   Aside from the poverty exemption item, other items approved included accepting the transfer of the “Police Patrol unit and its corresponding retirees to the MERS System in the amount of $4,953,970.” MERS refers to the Municipal Retirement System. The transferred amount is part of the negotiated agreement approved by the city and POLC (Police Officers Labor Council) members earlier in the year.

      Another item revoked the 2016 OPRA tax exemption certificate on the Matthews building property, along with the IFT tax exemption certificate – because the project was never completed.

   The next meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 2.

Owosso Approves Highest Threshold Poverty Exemptions in the County was last modified: November 25th, 2019 by Karen Elford