Townships, county on average 40 percent tax-exempt
As more lands are purchased for conservation or tax forfeited in a challenging economy, some of Hubbard County's tiniest units of government are feeling the pinch of scarcer tax dollars.
But some township supervisors say they can weather the trend by passing skimpier budgets and cutting back services if necessary. As long as the townships have a minimum number of roads to maintain, supervisors say that's where the bulk of their budgets go.
And that was the Hobbes' choice county board chair Lyle Robinson presented last month to Fern Township officials when the DNR bought nearly 1,000 acres that included a resort and other amenities.
That purchase of much of La Salle Lake, an RV park and campground for a state recreational area, took 4.28 percent of Fern Township's acreage off the tax rolls.
"But if they (the former resort owners) develop it wouldn't you have to maintain the roads?" Robinson asked township supervisors.
By Robinson's reasoning, it could be a wash, taking the property off the tax rolls or adding to the township's burden of maintenance.
The haves and have nots
The purchase left Fern Township with an overall percentage of more tax- exempt land than taxable.
Other townships such as Lake Alice, Schoolcraft and Thorpe, also have high percentages of tax-exempt land according to research performed by assistant county assessor Carice Golberg-Cummins.
Nearly 40 percent of Hubbard County's 593,012 acres are tax-exempt, Golberg-Cummins found.