Questions & Answers
Frequently Asked Questions
|Building||Public Safety - Codespear|
Q: When are City Offices open?
A: City Offices are open 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday through Friday except for the following holidays:
|New Years Day||Columbus Day|
|Martin Luther King, Jr. Day||Veteran's Day|
|President's Day||Thanksgiving Day|
|Good Friday||Day after Thanksgiving|
|Memorial Day||Christmas Eve|
|Independence Day||Christmas Day|
|Labor Day||New Years Eve|
FAQ's About Inspection ServicesQ: Is it necessary to meet with the scheduled Inspector for an inspection?
A: No, but it is strongly encouraged in the event a minor adjustment can be made at that time or for clarification of the violations observed. Access must be provided to the inspector on the scheduled inspection day. A representative MUST be present when the inspector enters an occupied home.
Q: When should I call for a building inspection?
A: Call the Inspection Request by no later than 4:00pm of the day prior to the date of the requested inspection. That telephone number is (248) 593-9350.
Q: May I request a specific time of day for a building inspection?
A: Time requests for building inspections are limited to two-hour ranges; however, depending on the amount and type of inspection, time requests may not be honored. Please keep in mind that certain inspections may take longer, or other problems may arise, that will create delays in the schedule. If the situation dictates, please call the building department and discuss the situation with the inspector for time arrangements.
Q: Are inspectors available to help me if I have any questions about building in Bloomfield Hills?
A: Building code interpretation or code related questions shall be addressed by the Building Official during regular office hours. Trade Inspectors are available by phone during regular business hours.
Q: What information is required when calling in an inspection?
A: You must know the permit number that has been assigned to the job, the type of inspection, address of the job site, and give the name of the person calling and a phone number where you can be reached.
Q: What should I do with my copy of my permit and building plans when the City gives me an approved copy back?
A: Your permit must be posted on site and the plans available to the inspectors for all inspections.
Q: Does my building permit also include the electrical and plumbing and heating permit?
A: No. Each trade permit MUST be pulled separately.
Q: Why do I have to post a bond and when will I get it back?
A: The bond is required as an incentive for the permit holder to complete the project. A building bond may be required depending on the building project. The bond will be returned after a final inspection is approved.
Q: As a homeowner can I pull my own building or trade permits?
A: Yes. You will be required to fill out a Homeowner’s Affidavit claiming that you will personally be doing the work, and bear full responsibility for the work that is done. All work must conform to code and you will be held personally liable. This practice is not encouraged. If a State of Michigan licensed Builder or Maintenance/Alteration Contractor is hired by the homeowner to supervise the work, then we strongly recommend the permit be issued to the licensed builder.
Q: Will the City recommend a good building, plumbing, electrical or mechanical company?
A: No. The City will not recommend any company, however you may look at our records of licensed contractors.
Q: What do I have to pull a building permit for?
A: A complete list of required inspections may be found in the "forms" section of this website and is updated periodically. If there is ANY question as to whether a permit is needed for any work, call the Building Official.
Q: What codes has the City of Bloomfield Hills adopted?
A: The City of Bloomfield Hills has adopted the 2006 Michigan Building Code, 2006 Michigan Residential Code, the 2006 Michigan Plumbing and Mechanical Code and the 2008 Michigan Electrical Code. The City also has adopted the 2006 International Property Maintenance Code. Copies are available for purchase at www.michigan.gov/cis
Q: Do I need a permit for a swimming pool?
A: The Michigan Residential Code mandates that an application for a building permit be submitted for all above ground and in ground swimming pools containing 2 or more feet of water. An electrical permit is required for the grounding and additional circuits that will need to be installed. Mechanical permits will be required for any heating equipment for the pool. All outside pools must be provided with a safety enclosure in compliance with the Michigan Residential Code.
Q: When must "Builders" or contractors be licensed?
A: Residential work valued $600 or more requires that the Builder or Maintenance /Alteration Contractor be properly licensed by the State of Michigan.
Q: How can I verify if my contractor is licensed?
A: Call the State of Michigan at (517)241-9427 to see if your contractor is licensed. You may also verify City registration with our clerical staff.
Q: What time frame should I allow for a building permit to be issued?
A: Please allow up to ten business days for a review of the submitted building plans. If revisions are requested for further review, the revisions will be reviewed in the order they are received. Commercial plans for alterations need to be reviewed by all trade disciplines and the Fire Marshal. Therefore please allow for an additional two weeks. New Commercial construction reviews will take considerably longer.
Q: May I start the work before a permit is issued?
A: Starting work without a permit is a violation of the State Construction Code and City Ordinance. If you are detected working without a permit by a Code Official, you will be assessed an Investigation Fee in addition to all required permit fees.
Q: What type of fees should I anticipate when applying for a building permit?
A: An application fee, a department plan review fee, and a registration fee for licensed contractors will be required at time of application. In addition, if consultant plan reviews (City Planner and City Engineer) are required, then an escrow deposit to be applied against their fees will also be required. A fee schedule is available upon request at the Building Department and on the published list on this we site.
Q: Do I need to apply for a permit in person?
A: Applications are accepted by mail; however, all licensed contractors and builders need to provide photo identification (driver's license and current Residential Builder's Board State license) with each application. In any instance, the applications must be signed and accompanied by a check for the required application fees. ALL Building permits require a homeowner’s signature or a copy of the contract.
Q: Why do contractors have to register their licenses with the City?
A: Registration is required so that the City may verify that proper licenses are in place at the time of the application. Contractors are required to register annually so that we may verify that the license was not rescinded or revoked. All information is only verified at time of registration. The registration fee is charged to offset clerical time to verify licensing with the State.
FAQ's About B-Escrow
Q: What is the “B-Escrow?”
A: This is an escrow sum that an applicant tenders to the City when introducing a new project for review. This escrow is placed into its own “account” and any consultant fees attributable to the project are charged against this account. Keep in mind that the fees charged are directly related to the completeness and accuracy of the submittals, so it is in the client’s best interest to thoroughly research the City’s requirements for the project being proposed.
Q: Why is the B-Escrow required?
A: Ordinance #359 states: “When individuals and entities seek reviews and approvals for their private and individual benefit, depending upon the type of review and/or approval involved, substantial costs and expenses may be incurred by the city for the work of city employees and consultants in determining whether approvals should be granted, and whether to the extent any conditions should be imposed. Therefore, it is the purpose of this Section to protect the taxpayers of the city against the allocation of substantial sums of general fund moneys that would otherwise be expended for the singular benefit of the private individuals and entities seeking the reviews and approvals. It is the policy of the city to secure payment for such reviews from the persons and entities seeking the special and singular benefit therefrom.”
Q: What is the amount of the B-escrow?
A: The amount of the escrow varies by type of project. Please refer to our fee schedule for the current amount required.
Q: Is any money returned?
A: Once the project is completed and all consultant charges have been accounted for, any remaining escrow sum is returned to the applicant who tendered the original sum.
Q: Will additional payments be required?
A: Each account is checked monthly. If the original escrow sum becomes depleted and there is a deficit at that time, an invoice for the deficit is generated and mailed. Prompt payment is required. If the project is on-going, or additional consultant charges are expected, then the balance must be brought back to the level listed on our fee schedule.
Q: To whom do I address complaints about my cable television?
A: Residents of Bloomfield Hills now can contact the Michigan Public Service Commission regarding their video / cable customer complaints. If you have a complaint, you should first attempt to resolve the complaint by directly contacting your video / cable provider. If you are not able to resolve the issue with the video / cable provider, you may want to contact the Michigan Public Service Commission for assistance. The Michigan Public Service Commission can be reached by the following means:
Mail: Michigan Public Service Commission
Attn: Video Franchising
6545 Mercantile Way
Lansing, Michigan 48909
The Michigan Public Service Commission also has a user-friendly website dedicated to providing information on video / cable issues. The website is located at: www.michigan.gov/mpsc.
Q: How Do I Register to Vote?
A: Qualified Electors may register to vote or change their address in the following manners:
- At the City Clerk's Office or at the office of the County Clerk during normal business hours.
- At any Secretary of State Branch office located throughout the State during normal business hours.
- At the military recruitment offices for persons enlisting in the armed forces.
- By obtaining and completing a Mail Voter Registration Application and forwarding to the election official for your jurisdiction by the close of registration deadline. Mail voter registration applications may be obtained by contacting the clerk's office or atwww.michigan.gov/sos. Please note that a person who registers to vote by mail is required to vote in person unless they have previously voted in person in the City where they live or are at least 60 years of age or are handicapped.
- Effective April 1, 2000, Public Act 118 of 1999 amended the Michigan Vehicle Code to clarify that a person's driver license address must correspond to his or her voter registration address. An address change submitted by an individual on a voter registration application form will automatically carry over to the individual's driver license record. Similarly, an address change submitted by an individual to update his or her driver license record will automatically carry over to the individual's voter registration record.
Q: How do I Obtain an Absent Voter Ballot for an Election?
A: Absent Voter Ballots are available through the Clerk's office prior to an election by first completing an application for said ballot, indicating why the ballot is needed and signing the form. The application is then processed and a ballot is issued and mailed to the individual or handed to the voter if obtained in person at the clerk's office.
Q: Where do I vote?
A: Registered voters in Precinct #1 vote at City Hall, 45 E. Long Lake Road Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. Registered voters in Precinct #2 vote at The Congregational Church of Birmingham, 1000 Cranbrook Road Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. Your voter registration cards denotes the assigned precinct.
Q: What are the requirements to register to vote?
A: 1. A person must be a citizen of the United States
2. A person must be a resident of the State of Michigan and will be at least a 30 day resident of the City by election day.
3. Will be at least 18 years of age by election day.
4. If false information is provided, a person has committed perjury and is subject to a fine or imprisonment or both under Federal or State Law.
Q: Property values in my neighborhood have been decreasing. Will my property valuation be decreasing as well?
A: Unfortunately, there isn’t a yes or no answer to that question. If you’ve owned your property for a significant amount of time, more than likely your State Equalized Value (SEV) far exceeds your Taxable Value. If this is the case, a decrease in valuation, caused by a slow real estate market, will be reflected in the SEV. The taxable value is required by the Michigan Constitution to increase each year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. In the case of a longtime property owner, the SEV could decrease, while the Taxable Value will continue to increase.
Q: If the SEV decreases, will I pay more or less in property taxes?
A: Your property taxes are based on the Taxable Value, rather than the SEV. So, in the previous scenario you would pay more in taxes even though your SEV decreased.
Q: Why won’t my taxes decrease if my property value is going down?
A: Proposal A allowed residents to pay property taxes on less than half of their market value by "capping" the Taxable Value, while still allowing the assessor to determine the market value by adjusting the SEV. This has caused, for many long-time property owners, a great disparity between the SEV figure and the Taxable Value figure. The assessor can reduce the SEV to reflect the change in property value, but if the Taxable Value is still well below the SEV, it will keep increasing until the two figures meet. Since property taxes are based on Taxable Value, you end up paying more in taxes.
Q: Will my taxes ever go down?Back To Top
Q: I did not sign up for Codespear, why am I receiving alerts?
A: By default, all residence’s land based telephone numbers have been pre-loaded into the system. This helps ensure that the public safety department can reach as many residents as possible in an emergency.
Q: Do I need to sign up?
A: No. However we recommend households create a profile so they can add, remove or edit devices that receive alerts based on the specific needs of you and/or your family. If you chose not to create a profile, the land line registered to your home will receive citizen alerts.
Q: I received the alert about the missing woman. Do you expect me to go to outside and look for people?
A: No, we want our residents to be safe and vigilant. We will not give directions that put you in more harm’s way. A woman who received the alert checked the outside of her home by looking out windows and spotted the missing woman on her porch, this was the safe and appropriate thing to do.
Q: Why is important for me to listen to the whole message and acknowledge it.
A: We want our residents to be well informed and follow any instructions given. This system helps us communicate with thousands of people at once.
Q: Can I call the public safety department when there is an alert?
A: Our phone numbers are always operational. You should call 911 only if you have an emergency, otherwise we ask that you not contact the public safety department directly as it overwhelms our dispatchers who are busy handling the emergency that triggered the alert. Please follow the instructions provided in the message.
Q: The voice was garbled, how am I supposed to know what the message was?
A: Because of the large amount of data being transferred and disseminated your message may be distorted, Federal Signal is constantly striving to improve the systems that facilitate mass telephone communications. We recommend adding at least one text or email based device to your profile. If you receive a distorted message you will have another means of accessing the message and following the directions.
Q: Can I opt out of the Citizen Alerting program?
A: Yes, you can opt out by going to the citizen alerting website, however you may be putting the safety and welfare of you and/or your family at risk by doing so. We ask that you consider this decision carefully.
Q: For what reasons will the Public Safety Department send out an alert?
A: At this time, alerts are only sent out where there is a life safety concern. Some examples are missing endangered persons, Hazardous Materials situations, or Homeland Security issues.
Q: Will alerts be sent out for any other reasons?
A: Alerts may be sent out for other reasons in the future, however you will be able to control whether you receive non life safety alerts. By default, it is mandatory that all subscribers receive “Public Safety” alerts which concern life safety.
Q: The system called me three times, why?
A: The system will automatically retry reaching you several times if you do not answer or it otherwise feels the message did not reach you. This is why it is important to acknowledge the alert.
Q: Is there a cost?
A: No, the system is provided to all residents of the City of Bloomfield Hills at no charge!
Q: I’m having trouble setting up my profile, what should I do?
A: You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Public Safety Department at (248) 644-4200 and we will be happy to have someone assist you.
Q: What is a Homestead Affidavit, and why do I have to file it?
A: Every person in Michigan is allowed to claim a Homestead on their primary residence which reduces the tax rate by 18 mils per thousand on their tax bill. In order to enjoy the lower tax rate you must own and occupy the residence for which you are claiming.
Q: What is a Property Transfer Affidavit?
A: When Proposal "A" passed in 1994, which reduced the school property taxes, the new law requires full disclosure. It is law that the "PTA" is file, or else stiff penalties will be applied by the State.
Q: My accountant tells me that I do not qualify for a homestead, should I still file it?
A: Accountants often confuse the Homestead Affidavit with the "Homestead Property Tax Credit". These are two separate entities that do not relate to one another. The Homestead affidavit is allowable for every resident in Michigan on his or her place of domicile to reduce the school portion of the tax bill. The "Homestead Property Tax Credit" relates to the filing of your yearly income tax with the federal government and has nothing to do with your eligibility for reduced property taxes on your home.
Q: I no longer have a business in the City of Bloomfield Hills, yet I am still receiving tax bills for the personal property.
A: If you were in business in the City of Bloomfield Hills as of December 31st of the prior year, you will be responsible for both the summer and winter taxes in the year following. Tax Day is December 31st and taxes are paid on whatever is on a particular property in the following tax collection (or year).
Q: When are taxes delinquent?
A: Taxes are due and payable July 1st through August 31st in the summer, and December 1st through February 14th in the winter for any given tax year. All taxes are turned over delinquent to Oakland County on March 1st of any given tax year.
Q: What is the Millage rate in Bloomfield Hills?
A: The Millage rate for the City of Bloomfield Hills in the Bloomfield Hills School District can be found on our Tax Millage Rates page.
Q: If I do not receive my tax bill and I miss the due date am I liable for the interest and penalties?
A: Yes, failure to receive the bill does not eliminate the penalties. As a property owner it is your responsibility to make sure you receive, and pay your taxes in a timely fashion. If you do not receive your tax bill by the third week of July or December, you should call the Treasurer's Office for another copy.
Q: Is there any relief in taxation for Senior Citizens?
A: You may apply for a summer deferment which will allow you to pay without penalty until February 28th of the current tax year. This form is available at the Treasurer's Office and must be re-filed each year. Once you have the deferment you will receive a new form each year enclosed with your July tax bill.
Q: Where do I get my Dog License?
A: Dog licenses are available at the City of Bloomfield Hills Administrative Offices. Dog must be licensed in Oakland County each year. The Treasurer's Office provides this service as a convenience to our residents. New licenses must be purchased between December 15th and March 1st each year. A valid rabies certificate must be presented in order to purchase the license. Important Changes to the Michigan Dog Law: A Dog must now be licensed at four months of age, instead of six months of age.
Q: Why participate in SPARE?
A: SPARE has the potential to decrease 0n-site response time, lessen property damage and reduce the potential for injury or loss of life in response to a fire, medical or security emergency.
Q: What is a SPARE plan?
A: A SPARE plan is simply the floor plan pages with critical areas highlighted in RED. Each floor is detailed on a separate page. A separate sheet would provide other specific information critical to the structure and its occupants.
Q: How are plans prepared?
A: Any plan author (architect) can digitally prepare the plans and have them copied into CD/ROM format. Since the inception of CAD drawings, this is an especially easy and cost effective production. Otherwise, if you have a copy of the floor plan pages, the required details can be provided in RED and then transferred to a CD by a local reprographic center with large format scanning capability.
Q: Why not just use the building plans the City has stored in the Planwell system instead?
A: The plans that were used to construct your home have many pages. And, the details are extensive. It would take far too long for a responder to locate the appropriate page in your home’s "file", and then sift through the plan pages for the areas of concern. Simply having the SPARE file on record can save precious minutes in just about any kind of emergency situation.
Q: What plans are required?
A: Simply provide plan pages that depict an overview of each separate level of your home. Show detached accessory buildings on separate pages as well. Do not provide and exterior views (elevations) or cut-views (sections). Addresses must be clearly shown on each page and owner’s names MUST be omitted.
Q: Is SPARE a mandatory program?
A: No, participation in SPARE is strictly voluntary.
Q: How are SPARE plans secured?
A: All building plans in the City of Bloomfield Hills are being electronically stored in the Planwell System, hosted locally by Dunn Blue Reprographers. The System has national security clearance and has provided the same service for numerous sensitive federal buildings. This is a highly secure site with several layers of protection and only City officials and the Public Safety Department have access to the site.
Q: What is the cost to have a SPARE plan included in the program?
A: There is no charge to City residents who provide CD/ROMS with SPARE plans. And, there is no charge to replace SPARE plans with updated versions of floor plans as structures change over time.