Please select a program to view related Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What types of financial assistance do the state, county or local communities provide to businesses?
A: Regardless of the nature of your business, the Department of Planning and Economic Development can provide you with direction in obtaining financial assistance in starting or maintaining operations.
The department’s Economic Development Services Group (EDSG) can assist qualified manufacturers and technology-based businesses to access financing through various mechanisms. The EDSG is experienced in working with fixed asset financing programs such as the SBA 504 loan and tax exempt Industrial Development Revenue Bonds. Where necessary, non-traditional sources of financing can also be explored.
The EDSG is also experienced in assisting manufacturers in securing tax abatements and other incentives. These programs are used to help ease the financial burden on manufacturers that are buying new machinery and equipment or are expanding their current building or relocating to a new site. Other select incentives for qualified businesses include grants for workforce training and infrastructure improvements.
Q: What types of incentives are available?
A: Most incentives are targeted to benefit businesses that are in the manufacturing sector. Included within this group are businesses that are manufacturing-related (such as R&D, engineering and prototyping) and those businesses that are primarily technology-based. Among the available incentives are tax exemptions, tax credits, grants and industry-specific programs. The most commonly awarded incentives include tax abatements, Brownfield Tax Increment Financing, the Michigan Business Tax Credit and the Michigan Economic Growth Authority program. Go to MacombBusiness.com for more information.
Q: What are tax abatements and how do they work?
A: In general, a “tax abatement” or Industrial Facilities Exemption Tax (IFET) is a 50 percent reduction in the real and/or personal property tax liability of a qualified business, for a period of up to 12 years (per Michigan Public Act 198 of 1974). The granting of the abatement and the term of years is determined at the discretion of the local unit of government. Other tax exemptions provided for by enabling legislation in the State of Michigan include plant rehabilitation, economically distressed/Core Communities and air/water pollution control. Go to MacombBusiness.com for more information.
Q: How do I determine whether my company qualifies to receive a tax abatement?
A: The Department of Planning and Economic Development’s Economic Development Services Group is the authoritative resource for identifying which exemptions are available to your company and for helping you to secure those exemptions. As a free and confidential service, the EDSG will provide you with turnkey management of the application process. This relieves you from the most time consuming and labor intensive elements of the process.
Q: What is a Brownfield Redevelopment Project?
A: Brownfields are abandoned, idled or under-utilized industrial or commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is hindered by real or perceived environmental conditions. The state has made available incentives that encourage and provide financial assistance for the redevelopment of such sites. This allows potential developers to rejuvenate sites that have the necessary infrastructure already in place. To determine whether your expansion or relocation project qualifies for brownfield redevelopment incentives, contact the EDSG at 586.469.5285.
Q: What is a Tool and Die Recovery Zone and what are the benefits to a business?
A: Under the Michigan Renaissance Zone Act, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation can designate up to 35 tax free zones within the state. The zones allow companies to operate tax free for up to 15 years enhancing their ability to compete globally. In order for a property to be designated as a T&DRZ, it must be owned/leased by a qualified tool and die business. Also, the local government must agree to abate the business’ local taxes and the business must join a qualified collaborative. To determine whether your business qualifies for potential T&DRZ benefits, contact the EDSG at 586.469.5285.
Q: What is a Tax-Exempt Industrial Development Revenue Bond and what types of businesses can use them?
A: Tax-Exempt Industrial Development Revenue Bonds, available to qualified manufacturers, are issued through the Macomb County Economic Development Corporation to provide low-interest financing for investments of $2.0 million or more (up to $40M). Bond proceeds may be used to finance fixed assets (real and personal property). The bonds are limited obligations payable solely from revenues or other funds provided by the manufacturing company. The first step in securing IDRB financing is to obtain a letter of credit from a bank or other rated financial institution. To learn more about IDRB financing and determine whether your planned investments qualify, contact the EDSG at 586.469.5285.
Q: What can be financed with Tax-Exempt Industrial Development Revenue Bonds and what benefit does it provide?
A: Items that can be financed with Tax-Exempt Industrial Development Revenue Bonds include manufacturing facilities, both new and existing, including land, buildings, site work and new machinery and equipment. Manufacturing is defined as any facility that is used for the production of tangible personal property or is engaged in a process that results in a change in the condition of such property. Typically, any process that results in a change in, or adds value to, raw materials or other products can be considered “manufacturing."
Q: How do I find the best site or location for my company?
A: Finding the right site or building for a business can be a most labor intensive and time consuming task. The department’s Economic Development Services Group understands that your deliberations regarding where to locate are directly affected by our ability to provide you with the information that you require: suitable sites and facilities, transportation network, workforce and the availability of state and local incentives. The EDSG will serve as your local site consultant, working with real estate professionals, developers, local utilities and any other resources necessary. We will bring in professional realtors and developers when needed.
Q: What types of business data are available to my company and what is the cost?
A: The department has access to a wide variety of data that are valuable to businesses. These include U.S. Census, consumer demographics, market segmentation, consumer spending and business information for manufacturing and service industries. Additionally, the department maintains commercial property databases used to assist you in selecting the right site or building for your business. All of these data are available without charge to qualified clients.
Q: What is the first thing that I should do in order to start a small business?
A: The first thing to do is to determine which type of legal entity will best suit the needs of the business. There are four legal forms of business organization - sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and Limited Liability Company. The type of organization formed determines where the business will be registered (the county or the state), corporate liability issues and the federal and state tax structure. It is strongly advised that legal counsel be obtained before making this decision. The Michigan Small Business Development Center offers a free seminar conducted by an attorney addressing the legal structure a company should have and the advantages and disadvantages of each. For more information and to view a current list of seminars, visit: www.sbdcmichigan.org.
Q: How do I obtain a government grant?
A: There is a misconception that the Federal Government issues grants to those who wish to start a business. Unfortunately, there are only a few grants issued and these grants are usually very specific and highly competitive. Generally, the grants do not apply to the average person trying to start a business. Most grants are provided by private foundations. These foundations will usually offer grants only to non-profit organizations that have a similar, related or complementary mission to their own. For more information, visit: www.sbdcmichigan.org.
Q: How do I secure an SBA loan?
A: It is a common misconception that a loan from the SBA is better than a loan obtained from a bank. The SBA does not lend money. It is a guarantor of loans made by private banks and other financial institutions. The SBA has a loan guarantee program that enables a small business to borrow money from a bank when, absent the guarantee, the bank would refuse to make the loan. The Loan Guarantee program is not one that the borrower applies for – the bank approaches the SBA on behalf of the borrower and the bank is responsible for lending the money with a portion of the loan being secured by the SBA. For more information, visit: www.sbdcmichigan.org.
Q: Where do I get a re-sellers/sales tax license?
A: A Sales Tax License is obtained from the Michigan Department of Treasury. The Michigan Department of Treasury can be contacted directly at 517.636.4660 or www.michigan.gov/businesstaxes.
Q: How do I get a business license and where are they issued?
A: There are several different types of licenses that are routinely referred to as a “business license.” Most of these are issued at the state level. To find out if the state of Michigan requires a license of your business and to fill out any associated forms, visit: www.mi.gov/statelicensesearch.
If you are a food-related business, there may be a specific license that is mandatory at the county level. Please proceed to www.health.macombgov.org and search for Food Licensing to determine if this applies to you. Some local communities may also require a business license. It is best to check with your city, township or village offices regarding this detail. For more information, visit: www.sbdcmichigan.org.
Finally, if you are making a product, there may be federal regulations. Go to www.cpsc.gov and search for Regulatory Robot to get additional details.
Q: What is a business plan and how is it created?
A: A business plan is a formal statement of a business goal, the reason it is believed the goals are attainable, and the plan for achieving the stated objectives. A written business plan helps identify many elements of the business including market size and definition, product offerings and description, product development and launch dates, distribution plans, sales channels, management team and credentials, revenue forecasts, estimated production costs, general business and startup costs, projected sales, monthly cash flow and estimated break even point and profits, etc. It is the key element to successfully planning the business. Most people believe a business plan is only necessary when you are seeking bank financing. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A good business plan is something that a business owner should revisit at regular intervals and there should be measurements to see how well the business is meeting its goals.
Writing a business plan can be a daunting task. Free assistance with preparation or reviewing the completed document is available from the Michigan Small Business Development Center business counselors. Go to www.sbdcmichigan.org.
Q: My sales aren’t what they should be. What can I do to improve them?
A: For any size or type of business to be successful, it should have a marketing plan. A good marketing plan begins by identifying the targeted customers and their key demographics. The plan should include a description of the product or service to be offered, note any special features or characteristics of the products and the advantages provided to the customers by using the product or service, and should include a pricing strategy. The marketing plan should contain information on competitors including the level of demand for their offerings and their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the marketing plan needs a budget that outlines an advertising and promotional layout.
Once a company understands its customers, what is important to them and how its products satisfy their needs, it can more effectively communicate with the customers and stress the products’ benefits.
Michigan Small Business Development Center business counselors can help you determine your marketing needs and a marketing strategy to meet the goals of your business. Consultations are available by appointment only. Go to www.sbdcmichigan.org.
Q: How do I obtain a Tax ID number for my business?
A: Incorporated businesses and companies that hire employees must obtain an Employer Identification Number. A Federal Tax ID (or FEIN) is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (800.829.4933). The application and instructions for completing it can be obtained by visiting www.irs.gov. The application can be completed online as well.
Q: How do I get a Sales Tax License to purchase wholesale?
A: A Sales Tax License is issued by the state (517.636.4660). This license allows a company to purchase items that are for resale without paying sales tax. If the items purchased are for business use, the sales tax must be paid. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/businesstaxes.
Q: How do I secure a loan for my small business, and what do I need to prepare?
A: Before approaching any lending institution, the organization will need a formal business plan (See above section titled “What is a Business Plan?”). If the company is a startup organization, it will need to have private financing in place for the owner's portion of the investment in the company. A conservative rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of the total investment is needed. No lending institution is going to invest in a startup business if the principles of the business do not believe enough in the venture to invest their own money in it.
If the company is an ongoing enterprise, most lenders like to see a two-to-three year history of the business in terms of tax returns and year-to-date financials on the business and for the principles involved in the company.
Land and Water Resources
Q: Why is the beach closed?
A: The National Ocean and Atmosphere Administration has created a document, Beach Closures and Human Health, which educates the public on why there are beach closures, some of the causes of beach and water pollution, and ways to stay safe at the beach. To view this document click here or visit the websites of Macomb County’s Environmental Health Department or NOAA for more information on water and beach pollution. You can also visit the Lake St. Clair Metropark website to find out if the beach is closed.
Q: Why is there a build up of algae/muck on my shoreline?
A: Michigan Sea Grant provides information on the difference between harmful algae blooms and muck. If muck or algae is accumulating on your shoreline read the Michigan Sea Grant document to learn about its causes and potential health risks. You can also visit the websites of Macomb County Health Department or Michigan Sea Grant for more information.
Q: What can I do for fun this weekend in Macomb County?
A: Macomb County is filled with recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. The county is home to two Huron-Clinton Metroparks - Lake St. Clair and Stony Creek. Both parks have bike paths, sand volleyball, basketball courts, picnic facilities, and golf. The county-wide trail way system is another fun and safe way to spend time outdoors. Walk down the Macomb Orchard Trail and view the beautiful fall colors or bike from Lake St. Clair Metropark to Dodge Park along the Freedom Trail. If you’re looking for water recreation, Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River are both wonderful places to boat, fish, or swim. Visit Make Macomb Your Home, TourLakeStClair.org or view the County’s Trailways Master Plan for more information.
Q: How can I get a Tour Lake St. Clair Map?
Q: Where is the best place to launch my boat or kayak?
A: There are many launch sites along the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair to launch your boat. Lake St. Clair Metropark has an excellent public launch site. There are also many marinas along the lake such as MacRays, Belle Maker Harbor, and Jefferson Beach where you can launch and store your boat. If you just want to kayak for the day, Walter & Mary Burke Park in New Baltimore, Utica Landing Paddle Park and Heritage Park in Utica are all great locations. Visit TourLakeStClair.org or click on the Coastal Paddling Trail Map for a complete list of locations.
Q: Where is the best place to go fishing if you do not own a boat?
A: Lake St. Clair Metropark and the Pier at Walter & Mary Burke Park in New Baltimore are both great public access spots to go fishing. Miller Marina/Blossom Heath also allows fishing off the pier and provides boat rental. For information on these sites and more visit TourLakeStClair.org. Click on the fishing tab for a weekly blog about the best spots to fish on Lake St. Clair!
Planning and Mapping Services
Planning - Frequently Asked Questions
Mapping/GIS Services - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the current population of Macomb County? My community?
A: Macomb County’s 2010 U.S. Census Population was 840,978. For individual community population and detailed demographics for all Macomb County communities please visit our regional planning partner SEMCOG at http://semcog.org/Data/bycommunity.cfm
Q: How do I find out how many ethnic populations live in Macomb County and the number of people of specific races and cultures?
A: Find popular facts (population, income, etc.) and frequently requested data about your community on the U.S. Census Bureau - American FactFinder website.
Q: Who can I talk to about the zoning of my property?
A: Since Michigan is a “home rule” state, citizens are able to call their own (home) community to check the local zoning map and determine what the zoning is on any particular parcel within the community. Often, your local community’s Planning and Zoning Departments are combined to offer integrated service to local citizens.
Q: Someone is building next to me. How do I know exactly where my lot ends and theirs begins?
A: The first call should be to the local assessor’s office. Your local assessor will give you the location and dimensions of your property. If there is a dispute over property lines, it is possible you may need to call a certified surveyor to identify the exact boundaries of your property.
Q: Are there wetlands on my parcel?
A: The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) describes wetlands as "transitional areas where water and land meet." The water can be slightly above or below the surface of the land and the land does not have to be wet all the time to classify as a wetland. Please refer to the DEQ's website for more information on wetland identification procedures, performed either by the DEQ or by a qualified private consultant. Additionally, MCPED's Geographic Information Services Group has available online the Macomb County Potential Wetland Indicator Map, which represents the results of intersecting the wetland area of the SEMCOG 2000 Land Use Land Cover Map, the National Wetlands Inventory and Hydric Soils taken from County Soil Surveys. The State of Michigan recognizes the map as the official wetlands map for Macomb County. However, the information provided in this map is intended to indicate where wetlands are most probable and does not guarantee that an actual wetland exists. Delineation of wetlands should be validated by an in-field survey by a competent professional.
Q: Is my land in a floodplain? If so, how can I appeal?
A: For answers to these and other questions please visit the following Federal resources.
Q: What farmland preservation program is available from the State of Michigan?
A: The Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program for the State of Michigan assures that land will remain in farming for a certain number of years that is detailed in a covenant agreement between the landowner and the State of Michigan. An agreement must be signed for at least ten years and not more then 90 years. The contract can be extended after the expiration of the initial agreement by increments of seven years. In return for signing this agreement the farmer is eligible for tax credits and exempt from special assessments for drains, water lines, etc.
At the end of the agreement the farmland owner can choose to continue the contract. The contract can be extended in increments of seven years. Once the farmland owner discontinues the contract, they must repay the State of Michigan the last seven years of tax credits.
Q: What is a Conservation Easement?
A: According to the Michigan Society of Planners, a Conservation Easement is a legally binding restriction on a property, which limits its use or activity. Conservation easements can be used to protect land, especially that which is environmentally sensitive or unique, from the encroachment of new development. The property owner usually volunteers conservation easements. There are advantages to both community and landowner in the granting of conservation easements. The donation allows the community to receive the benefit of open space without the cost of purchase. For the landowner, the donation of conservation easements will typically result in federal tax savings.
Q: What are subdivision regulations?
A: Subdivision regulations apply when land is divided into more lots than are permitted under the lot split provisions of the Land Division Act. Subdivision regulations are adopted to regulate proposed subdivisions or plats. They establish the administrative review and evaluation procedure for processing conceptual, preliminary, and final plats. Subdivision regulations help ensure that the new lots conform to the community’s zoning standards and that the street layouts are convenient and safe.
Q: What is a community master plan?
A: A Master Plan provides guidance to accomplish a coordinated and harmonious development of the municipality and its environs which will, in accordance with present and future needs, promote public health, safety morals, order, convenience, prosperity and general welfare. Currently, the MCPED reviews municipal plans and provides input into the process.
Q: What is the difference between a subdivision lot and a site condominium?
A: Site condominiums have become a popular part of Michigan's Real Estate Development, because they allow developers to avoid the lengthy State of Michigan review process that is outlined in the 1967 Michigan Subdivision Control Act. The properties have the appearance of and are considered by the market to be equivalent to standard-platted single family subdivisions. The properties are in all aspects identical to standard single-family subdivisions except for their legal description. Association fees are generally similar to homeowner association fees in standard platted subdivisions and are intended for the maintenance of entrance ways and open space within the development.
Q: Are property tax maps available from Macomb County GIS Services?
A: Current property tax maps can be purchased directly from the Department of Planning and Economic Development. Maps in this series depict property taxation information at a scale of 1” = 100’. Maps in this series include information regarding property tax identification numbers (SIDWELL Number), deeded property dimensions, deeded acreage measurements and other legal identifying information. Maps are available in two hardcopy formats; property line information only or with the county’s most recent aerial photo in the background. Hardcopy map products are sold as individual black and white 24” x 36” paper map sheets printed on-demand by front counter staff. Electronic versions of aerial composite tax maps are available as 24” x 36” documents in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format.
Q: Can maps I purchase be faxed?
Q: Can maps I purchase be emailed?
A: Electronic versions of aerial composite tax maps can be emailed with some limitations. Electronic versions of aerial composite tax maps are available as 24” x 36” documents in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format. These documents average 9 MB in size. Please check with your email provider to ensure that file attachments in this size range are permitted. Requests for multiple map sheets will be transmitted as separate emails. Paid in full orders that cannot be transmitted will be mailed via U.S.P.S. at standard rates if requested by the purchaser. The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development is not responsible for confirmation of delivery nor guarantees the delivery of aerial composite tax maps utilizing email due to these limitations.
Q: How current are your property tax maps?
A: Macomb County property tax maps are maintained on a continuous basis. All legal instruments regarding the subdivision of real property submitted to the Macomb County Register of Deeds office are assigned a tax identification number and checked for closure by the Land File division of the Treasurer’s Office prior to being added to the base tax map. In most cases recorded changes are processed within 2-3 business days.
Q: How can I get a copy of the last survey of my property?
A: In Macomb County a copy of the property survey is not required to be filed with the County Register of Deeds Office. Homeowners should check the following sources:
1. Check with the attorney or settlement agency that performed the closing services on your mortgage. They will have a copy of the survey in their files. If you are in the process of closing, make sure that you request a copy for your own records.
2. Contact the title insurance company, if a title insurance policy was issued on your property at closing. They require surveys to ensure that the title is clear and will have a copy in their file. They may charge a nominal fee to send you a copy.
3. Contact your lender to request a copy of the survey. If you did not receive a copy with your closing documentation, your lender should be able to provide you with a copy.
4. Seek out the person or company who conducted the survey. Surveyors keep records of each survey conducted and will be able to provide you with a copy of the survey for a nominal fee.
5. Contact your local community to learn which office handles property records. While property surveys are not a matter of public record everywhere, there may be a chance that your community has a copy of the property survey somewhere in its records.
Q: How can I get a legal description of a property?
A: Click here.
Q: How can I purchase Macomb County GIS data and maps?
A: GIS data and maps may be purchased/ordered in person at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development’s front counter during the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Maps may also be purchased by mail or by phone. All orders must be paid in full (cash or check) before they are shipped.
Q: How can I pay for maps and data products?
A: Maps and GIS data products can be paid for in person or by mail. Payments can be made using cash or check made out to the “Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development”. Credit cards are not an accepted form of payment at this time.
Q: Is property assessment information available from Macomb County GIS Services?
A: Property assessment data is not currently available from Macomb County GIS Services. Macomb County is comprised of 27 local units of government covered by 24 individual taxing authorities. Assessment data inquiries must be directed to the assessment department of the local unit of government.
Q: What are the hours of map and GIS data sales?
Q: What formats are GIS data available?
A: GIS data sets are available in ESRI Shapefile format or in ESRI Personal Geodatabase version 9.3 format. Parcel data requiring full dimension annotation information can only be delivered in ESRI Personal Geodatabase format.
Q: What is the datum and projection of Macomb County GIS Services Data?
Q: What GIS data is freely available on the Internet to the general public?
A: Many of the GIS datasets maintained by Macomb County GIS Services are accessible via the Internet from our online mapping service. The service can be accessed directly at gis.macombgov.org. Current public access mapping services include Aerial Imagery Browser, Delinquent Tax Search, Environmental Resources, Property Tax Map Sheet Preview/Order Service and FEMA Digital Flood Rate Insurance (DFIRM) Map Viewer.
Q: What GIS data is available through Macomb County’s Enhanced Access Policy?
A: Macomb County’s Enhanced Access Policy provides a price schedule for GIS data as determined by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. GIS data currently covered by this policy include Digital Aerial Photography and Property Tax Parcel information.
Q: What is the current Enhanced Access fee structure for GIS data sets?
A: Tax Parcel Data (ESRI shapefile or Personal Geodatabase format) - .15 per tax parcel Digital Aerial Imagery B/W 2000, 2004 (.TIF w/ worldfile format) - $30.00 per 1/4 section Digital Aerial Imagery Color 2005 (MrSID format)- $250.00 per geographic township.
Q: What aerial photography products are available?
A: Aerial photography products are available for a wide number of flight years. Historical flights covering flight years 1964, 1972, 1980 and 1990 are available as hardcopy paper maps. Flight years 2000, 2004 ,2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012 are digital imagery products. Flight year 2012 is available in hardcopy format as part of the current tax parcel composite map product.
Q: What are the differences between a plat map, tax map, aerial photo composite and a line drawing?
A: A Plat Map is a drawing submitted to the register of deeds office that shows the detailed subdivision of land from a larger parcel to individual subdivided lots. Referenced by subdivision name and liber and page number, copies of recorded plats can be obtained from the Macomb County Register of Deeds office. A Tax Map is a map that depicts taxable properties in Macomb County. Tax maps are created and maintained through a cooperative effort between the Land File division of the Treasurer’s Office and the GIS Services division of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. The county’s Tax Map series depicts much of the legal property description information contained within the recorded subdivision plat maps and also includes tax parcel information for condominium developments and non-platted tracts of land.
A Line Drawing is an individual 24” x 36” map sheet from the tax map series available in hard copy only. An Aerial Photo Composite is an individual 24” x 36” map sheet from the tax map series that includes the most recent aerial photo imagery as a backdrop available in either hardcopy or Adobe Acrobat .PDF format.