Welcome to the County Treasurer’s Office. We hope that you will find the information contained on these web pages useful.
The county treasurer is an officer of the county. The Michigan Constitution provides that each county have a treasurer elected on a partisan basis every four (4) years. Virtually all of the county treasurer’s duties and responsibilities are established by State law. Three of the major functions of the office are cash management, investments and property taxation.
Under Michigan law, the county treasurer is responsible for all revenues received by the treasurer and the various officers, departments, agencies, boards and commissions of the county. These revenues consist of taxes & fees, State & Federal grants, charges for services, fines & forfeitures, interest & rents, and other revenues. Additionally, the county treasurer is the custodian of certain funds held in trust or agency on behalf of others. These funds include amounts due individuals and/or other governmental units, probated estate trust funds, penal fines and escheats.
The county treasurer also manages the county’s bank accounts and assures that sufficient funds are available to cover checks prepared by the county clerk and approved by the county board of commissioners. For funds that are not immediately required to meet the cash flow needs of the county, the county treasurer invests these surplus funds in investments and securities for the benefit of the county in accordance with the Michigan Investment of Surplus Funds Act, being Public Act 20 of 1943, as amended, and the Mason County Investment Policy adopted by the county board of commissioners.
In a cooperative effort with the county clerk and county administrator, the county treasurer maintains the county’s general ledger utilizing fund accounting methods prescribed by the Michigan Uniform Budgeting & Accounting Act, being Public Act 2 of 1968, as amended, and reconciles the general ledger with the county’s bank accounts.
The county treasurer is also responsible for the compilation and filing of many reports due the Michigan Departments of Corrections; Education; Military & Veterans Affairs; Natural Resources; Secretary of State; State Police; Transportation and Treasury. Additionally, the county treasurer purchases and holds surety bonds for county officers and employees, tax collection bonds for local treasurers, and performance bonds and deposits for certain county departments.
In addition to the financial responsibilities outlined above, the county treasurer has major responsibilities under the Michigan General Property Tax Act, being Public Act 206 of 1893, as amended. Generally, property taxes are assessed by townships and cities and collected by their respective unit treasurers. Except for village taxes, all property taxes become delinquent on March 1st of each year. At that time local property tax rolls are turned over to the county treasurer during a process called settlement. During settlement the county treasurer verifies the amount of unpaid taxes and assumes responsibility for collecting the remaining delinquent taxes on real properties. In Mason County, the county treasurer does not collect delinquent personal property taxes and certain other delinquent taxes and returns them to the appropriate township, village or city treasurer with a warrant to collect.
For many years the county board of commissioners has annually authorized the county treasurer to purchase all delinquent real property taxes thus assuring that all taxing units (townships, village, cities, school districts and special authorities) receive 100% of their real property tax levy in the budget year it was levied for without waiting for taxes to be collected. This purchase is typically accomplished by either utilizing funds advanced by the county or issuing delinquent tax anticipation notes (DTAN’s) that are repaid as taxes are collected with interest.
After settlement the county treasurer permanently maintains all tax rolls and is responsible for processing all changes ordered by assessing officers, local boards of review, Michigan Tax Tribunal, State Tax Commission, Michigan Department of Treasury or other appropriate authorities.
In Mason County, the county treasurer presently collects current summer property taxes for Eden Township that opted-out of the collection process at the time the state-wide summer property levy was instituted in 2003. At that time, the county treasurer elected to collect the summer taxes in opt-out units as service to local taxpayers rather than passing the collection responsibility on to the Michigan Department of Treasury. The county treasurer is obligated to collect the summer taxes until such time as the township elects to collect the taxes themselves. (Note: Free Soil Township opted-in to collect summer taxes beginning with the 2007 summer tax levy and Logan Township opted-in to collect summer taxes beginning with the 2008 summer tax levy).
For property tax reversion purposes, Mason County has been an opt-in county since 2004 whereby the county treasurer performs the duties associated with the foreclosure and sale of tax delinquent properties thereby keeping the administration of this portion of the Property Tax Act local in order to be more responsive to the needs of county taxpayers. The county treasurer conducts title searches, notifications and performs other administrative duties associated with the foreclosure and subsequent sale of tax delinquent properties.
Mason County is opt-out county for the Principal Residence Exemption (P.R.E.) Audit Program for purposes of performing audits for fraudulently claimed exemptions. Because of this, these audits are performed by the Michigan Department of Treasury. However, as custodian of the permanent tax rolls, the county treasurer has responsibility for collecting additional taxes, interest and penalties due for prior years for P.R.E.’s denied by the Department of Treasury. (Note: until 2003 the Principal Residence Exemption was known as the Homestead Exemption).
The county treasurer also certifies deeds prior to recording in the county register of deeds office stating that there are no delinquent taxes due for the five (5) years preceding the date of the instrument and provides tax abstracts or tax histories to requesting parties.
Under the Michigan Dog Law, being Public Act 339 of 1919, as amended, the county treasurer oversees the sale of dog licenses within the county. The treasurer’s responsibility is limited to the sale of dog licenses with enforcement being the responsibility of the county animal control officer.