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Friday, April 20, 2012

"Clarkston school board treasurer can’t legally claim two primary homes", 4/20/12 Oakland Press article

"Clarkston school board treasurer can’t legally claim two primary homes"

It is illegal for a married couple to claim two homesteads, or places of residency, when they both only live in one of the homes.

Clarkston Board of Education Treasurer Steve Hyer found this out the hard way.

Springfield Township Deputy Treasurer Karen Binasio said the township sent Hyer a letter informing Hyer that he cannot claim two homesteads. Hyer then rescinded the homestead status on his Bluewater condo on Feb. 6 of this year.

Binasio said, “If you own and occupy your home, you have a homestead exemption. And that forgoes them paying 18 mills to the school operation. By law, you can only have one. Some people just don't rescind the homestead; they try to keep both homes homesteaded.”

Hyer said he did not intentionally forego his taxes.

“If there are taxes I owe, I will pay them. I’m not trying to get out of any property taxes,” he said.

Hyer and his wife lived in a condominium on Bluewater Drive in Springfield Township from 2003 to 2011. Hyer said he purchased the condo before he was married.

 In 2011, his wife Kelly purchased a second home on Lost Pines Drive about two miles away from their first home. Hyer said he is listed on the deed. In 2011, they claimed both of these homes as their homestead, although they lived on Lost Pines Drive and rented out the condominium, according to the Springfield Township Assessing Department.

Binansio said that’s not legal. “There’s not many tax breaks for married people. This is one of them,” she said.

A resident contacted The Oakland Press because he was concerned that Hyer was not paying this school operating tax while the board of education was, at the same time, proposing a $20 million bond, or 1 mill property tax increase, in an upcoming special election.
Hyer said, “We were informed (by Springfield Township) I had to change the filing on my current condo, which I did. I don't know why there's an issue. If there are any taxes I owe or have ever owed, I will pay and have always paid. The way my taxes are paid is a personal thing. I don't owe any back taxes, and if I owe something that I get billed for, I pay it.”

Non-homestead residencies or businesses are charged an additional school operating tax that primary residencies are not charged.

If the condo was listed as non-homestead in 2011, Hyer’s summer taxes would have gone up by $462.60, according to Springfield Township’s property records. The condo was the least expensive of the two homes.

“That’s money that goes to the school. That doesn’t come here to the township,” said Binasio. “Oakland County has to send him a bill for the difference now.”

Binasio explained that even people who own one house in state and one out-of-state, like Florida, only have one homestead. The home lived in for the majority of the year, six months and one day, is considered the homestead.

“It's the address you file your income taxes under or what your driver's license says. Those are ways to check,” she said. “The way they find this stuff is by running same names to addresses.”

Deputy Assessor for Springfield Township Arlene Badgley said the only exemption to this increase in taxes is if one of the houses is for sale.

“It's called a conditional rescind. If they bought another house, and they moved in and occupied it, they're allowed to get a homestead on that. The house that they're trying to sell, if they want a homestead on that, it has to be listed for sale and vacant. They have to apply for that every year,” said Badgley. “But because it's a rental, (Hyer) wouldn't qualify for that.”

Contact Monica Drake at 248-745-4687 or email her at Find her on Twitter at monica_adele."


  1. Your the school board treasurer, your wife works for the township! There is one of 2 things going on here.

    A) your ignorant of financial matters , not resourcful or informed.
    B) your a crook or cheat and got caught
    Which begs the questions of why you should be trusted w/ public TAXPAYER MONEY, should you be forced to resign... See character flaws above and the answer is a simple yes... For the kids

  2. 4/26/12 Anonymous,

    I couldn't have said it better myself.