Homeowners with PFAS wonder why taxes going up

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — For those living in the areas in northern Kent County impacted by PFAS contamination, recent property assessment increases that translate to higher taxes seem like a cruel hoax.

The Algoma and Plainfield township neighborhoods around Rockford were once among the most desirable ZIP codes in Kent County, now those residents worry that their property is unsaleable and they want those who decide of tax rates to understand that.

At the Plainfield Township Board meeting Monday, residents made their concerns known.

“Why’d my assessment go up?” resident Dave Bisbee wondered. “My property’s a toxic trash dump now.”

Also at the meeting was Gregg Young, who lives in the 3300 block of House Street NE. That’s the street where, decades ago, Rockford-based shoe manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide dumped the waste blamed as the source of the PFAS contamination in residential wells. PFAS is a likely carcinogen that has also been linked to several other illnesses.

“It remains that the name ‘House Street’ is now synonymous with (large New York pollution site) Love Canal and that this means the mere mention of our street will likely repulse potential buyers,” Young told the township board.

Young and Sue Poll built their beautiful home on House Street more than 30 years ago and raised their family there. They love their home, but feel like prisoners in a gilded cage. The increase in their assessment, which they got recently as tax season is in full swing, felt like adding insult to injury.

Young took his case to the township Zoning Board of Appeals, which is hearing complaints through Wednesday, to see what could be done.

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