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Plainfield Charter Township
6161 Belmont Ave, NE
Belmont, MI  49306-9609

Phone: 616-364-8466
Fax: 616-364-6537

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Township Government

Local government – particularly township government – is important to the 32,000 residents of Plainfield Township. What citizens know about local government typically relates to paying taxes, voting in elections, or getting a permit to build something. People in Plainfield Township may also see some connection with local government when they pay water and sewer bills, watch fire equipment traveling down their street, participate in a senior citizens program, buy a cemetery lot, visit a Township park, or get involved in a zoning issue. That just about sums it up for most people. In the background, the elected Board of Trustees, various commissions,

Michigan Townships Association
Plainfield Charter Township
is a member of the
Michigan Townships

committees, boards, and the Township’s employees are constantly working quietly and diligently to help make Plainfield Township a better place to live, work, and do business. We feel good when the only stories in the newspapers are stories of positive change and good news about things happening here. However, the news media are more likely to focus on the sensational and controversial aspects of government. There is that, too, but those things tend to be exceptional.

Because Plainfield Township has been a growing area, new development and new homes often create tension and anxiety among property owners who feel that the “rural” nature of their neighborhood is disappearing. When a rezoning occurs or a new plat is proposed, large numbers of citizens sometimes show up at the public hearings. They are concerned about the impact of these new developments on their property – especially if they think the development will increase traffic or presents a threat to their property values. Except for occasional flurries of interest like this, citizens aren’t typically involved and don’t become aware of Plainfield Township government’s key role in the growth and development of this community.

In just two short paragraphs, I have covered what Plainfield Township government means to most of its residents. Cities and villages typically provide a whole lot more services. They are responsible for maintaining and improving their streets. Many maintain more extensive parks systems, operate recreation programs, operate substantial fire and police departments, and offer many other services. They often house and fund district court operations, maintain drainage ways, and provide solid waste collection. They also charge higher rates of local taxes. For example, Wyoming levies over 10 mils ($1 per $2,000 of value) in property taxes. Grand Rapids collects nearly 8 mils and has a 2% city income tax. Rockford charges about nearly 11 mils. Plainfield Township’s property tax has been about 3.29 mills for the past eight years.

If you own a home valued at $150,000, you paid about $247 in property taxes last year for Plainfield Township government. The rest went to the other local taxing districts. See the pie chart to the right showing where your property tax dollars go. Plainfield Township receives about 11% of your property taxes – about a third of what you would pay if you lived in Rockford or Wyoming, for example. With “full service” municipalities, you should expect to pay more. That does not mean what we do is unimportant; it means that our services may not be nearly as extensive as, say, Rockford, Grandville, Kentwood, or Wyoming. So what are the public services that Plainfield Township provides, and what do they cost?

Plainfield Township’s largest activities – public water and sewer services -- are not funded by local taxes; they are funded by user charges. We produce and distribute our own water, spending about $4,600,000 last year. Sewer collection and treatment cost about $4,500,000. The Township’s General Fund is supported by local property taxes – $3,760,000 in 2010 – about 52% of the total General Fund revenue. Revenue sharing from the State of Michigan amounted to 41% of General Fund revenue in 2002; now it is down to 27% at $1,945,000. The largest activity in the General Fund is the Fire Department, for which we will spend about $2,870,000. We paid the Kent County Sheriff about $494,000 for extra policing services from Kent County. Public Safety is about half of the Township’s General Fund annual budget.

If you live and own property in Plainfield Township, you get good and cost-effective “basic” services. You also get a low property tax rate for township government. There is a whole lot more that your local government can get into in terms of providing local government services, but doing so will cost money. That money would come from … property taxes. Over the years, your elected officials have accepted what they feel is the mandate from the voters -- that they want good, low cost, government and keeping the Township’s property tax rate low. That is what we have been doing for decades.

Cameron VanWyngarden
Township Manager



Plainfield Township Millage Rates
Where your taxes go...




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