FAQs About Becoming a Special Assessment District

What is a Special Assessment District?
In December 2014, the Detroit City Council passed an ordinance that is intended to strengthen Detroit neighborhoods by empowering neighborhoods to design and implement plans to provide supplemental listed services of security, snow removal, and/or mosquito abatement. If 51% or more of the homeowners in a neighborhood sign a petition to become a Special Assessment District (SAD), all the homeowners share the cost of a City Council-approved plan. This was done to implement the provisions of Section 5i of the Michigan Home Rule City Act.

Why did UDCA pursue Special Assessment Designation?
The City ordinance also created a process by which a neighborhood could become a Special Assessment District. The UDCA asked UD residents (survey) if they wanted to become a SAD. Two thirds of respondents replied: Yes.

What was the process?
The UDCA created a Special Assessment Committee to evaluate the viability and value of a Special Assessment to the community, develop a process for informing the residents, collect signatures and submit the petitions to the City for processing through City Council approval. This committee has transitioned into an administrative and oversight committee for managing the SAD.  The committee is responsible for ordinance compliance as well.

How many University District property owners signed the petitions?
Eighty-one percent of the University District property owners signed petitions requesting that the University District become a Special Assessment District.

When did the University District become a Special Assessment District?
The Detroit City Council voted unanimously to approve the University District’s designation on June 21, 2022.

How much does it cost and what does it buy?
The assessment amount is $175 per year for each property owner (48 cents/day). This totals $184,492 (assuming 88% collection rate). The current budget allocations are:

  1. Enhanced security. This provides at least 12 hours/day of one patrol car and officer and represents approximately 75% of the budget. Go to udca.info/security for our patrol car telephone number and current hours of coverage.
  2. Snow-related services such as street plowing and salting.
  3. Mosquito abatement is covered as a SAD service, but UDCA would only use this (pellets in catch basins) on an emergency basis
  4. City of Detroit administrative processing fee of about 1%.
  5. Operating expenses of about 3%.

How and when will the SAD funds be collected?
Although not a tax, the $175 is collected with our property taxes. It appears as another line item, designated “SMS” (Security, Mosquito, Snow) on our tax bill. For 2022 only, the $175 appeared on the 2022 winter tax bill. Normally, it will appear on our summer tax bill.

How many Detroit neighborhoods have been designated SADs?
The University District joins three other Detroit neighborhoods (Sherwood Forest, Golf Club & Palmer Woods) as a SAD.

Where can I get more information on our SAD?
Go to udca.info/committees or udca.info/about-us/contact/.