Harmen's Corner

  *  Any opinions expressed are those of Mr. Guenther and do not necessarily represent the collective view of the CVHA and/or its individual members.


From the City Council Meeting, Monday, May 6th

Last nights Council Meeting was very interesting in that I got up to speak in the comments portion. What got me going was that the Judges of the 46th District court took expensive trips out of country for educational purposes. Why do they have to go to Ghana or Dubai when the conferences are offered for free on line. The sad part is the city supports the court with our tax dollars. It is also possible that the judges increase  the amount of court costs to defendants to help cover these trips. It was a very interesting article in the Sunday May 5 Free press. I hope you had a chance to read it. I will not vote for Judge Nance or Johnston when they come up for reelection. Mayor Siver and several other court watchers thanked me for my comments. 

May is Mental Health Month and May 19-25 is National Public Works Week. We need to thank the people that work in our Public Works Dep. They will replace the fence along 12 mile once the council passes the budget. I also asked them to restripe Webster at Southfield.

5 people were appointed to different boards and commissions. The agenda items that were discussed the receipts of bids for 2 projects to replace water mains and road improvements.  The presentation  regarding the proposal to operate a fence contractor's office with ancillary showroom and storage. The presentation and discussion regarding a proposal to reconstruct/expand an existing gas station/conveniences store including the addition of beer/wine/liquor sales and a carry out restaurant at 30835 Greenfield Rd. at the southwest corner of Greenfield and 13 mile rd.

Police Chief Barren was awarded the Michigan Chronicle 2024 Men of Excellence Honor. Congratulations Chief Barren. A well deserved honor. 

From Tuesday, April 30th


I am excited to share several updates from the Oakland County Treasurer's Office. We have been hard at work with various initiatives, from our ongoing efforts to prevent property tax foreclosure for families, individuals, and business owners to our annual Financial Empowerment Arts Contest and more.

I am also pleased to announce the results of our recent banking RFP and share our local investment strategy, which supports the banks and credit unions investing in Oakland County residents, businesses and communities.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter and find it helpful. If you have any questions or if we can assist you, please contact us.

See you around the county,

Property Tax Foreclosure Prevention

We are committed to preventing property tax foreclosure and helping Oakland County property owners retain their property rights. We understand financial difficulties occur and the stress of possibly losing a home or business due to delinquent taxes.

From December 2023 through March 2024, we held 1,414 one-on-one Taxpayer Assistance Meetings. During these meetings, we worked with property owners to understand their financial situation and develop repayment plans that enabled them to pay their unpaid taxes over time and retain their property. We issued 1,637 repayment plans, helping property owners avoid foreclosure and keep their homes.

In March, we also launched a multimedia campaign—including broadcast, digital and newspaper ads that generated over two million impressions—encouraging property owners with delinquent taxes to contact our office for help. We will continue working tirelessly to support property owners in our community and ensure everyone has access to the resources they need to thrive.

I attended 12 city council and township meetings to share information on the foreclosure process, our prevention efforts, and the availability of help and resources, including financial coaching from our office. Additionally, 37 communities shared the information during their city, village and township meetings.

If you or someone you know have unpaid property taxes, we’re here to help! Contact our office at (248) 858-0611.

Announcing Our New Primary Banking Partner

In February 2024, JP Morgan Chase (JPMC) Bank was selected as Oakland County's new lead banking partner after the Treasurer's 2023 Banking Service RFP process. JPMC Bank's technology strength and experience in integrating with the County's software were the main factors in their selection. The County expects to streamline processes and increase efficiencies by automating accounting entries and reducing the number of bank accounts. Our long-term relationships with Huntington Bank and Flagstar Bank will continue.

Local Investing Strategy

Our Office has a simple philosophy on investing our funds - be fiscally responsible and socially consciousness. We combine that with the highest ethical and investment standards to ensure the safety of public funds, proper liquidity and return on investment, in that order.

Our investment strategy also prioritizes local banks and credit unions investing in Oakland County residents, businesses and communities. We currently invest with the following financial institutions:

Chief Financial Credit Union
Choice One Bank
Citizens State Bank
Community Unity Bank
Cornerstone Credit Union
F&M Bank 
Fifth Third Bank
Mi Bank
The State Bank

First Independence Bank
First State Bank
Flagstar Bank
Horizon Bank
Huntington Bank
Huron Valley State Bank
Mercantile Bank
Michigan First Credit Union
Waterford Bank


Financial Empowerment Arts Contest

Thank you to the students, teachers, parents and our partners, Oakland Schools, Flagstar Bank and the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, for participating in and supporting this year’s contest.

This year, 144 submissions from 17 Oakland County public high schools were submitted by incredibly artistic and talented students. The entries were judged on creativity, artistic execution, incorporation of the financial empowerment theme, and answers to the supplemental questions.

Winners will be announced at a private reception on May 2, 2024, and cash prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place and honorable mentions for each grade level. We are excited to share the awe-inspiring artwork in our next community update.

Around the County

The Oakland County Treasurer's Office helps provide financial stability to the County’s 63 cities, villages, and townships. On March 1, local government units transfer their unpaid property taxes to the Oakland County Treasurer's Office for collection every year.

The Michigan General Property Tax Act established the Treasurer Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund (DTRF), which reimburses local government units for unpaid property taxes that are moved to the Oakland County Treasurer's Office. The reimbursement process is called Settlement.

The DTRF maintains a funding commitment of $200 million to ensure Oakland County communities have the necessary financial resources to meet their budgetary needs and provide essential public services.


Protect Your Home from Fraud

The Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office offers a free service called Property Records Notification (PRN) to help individuals prevent fraud related to their property records. Homeowners can search for and receive notifications about unauthorized documents recorded against their property in the Oakland County Register of Deeds Office.

This service is designed to help prevent deed and mortgage fraud by allowing residential property owners to verify suspicious documents. If suspicious activity is detected, contact the Register of Deeds office for assistance.

To learn more and register for this service, use the button below.


Learn More



Have an upcoming event that you want me to attend? Please email Zinnia Kallabat at kallabatz@oakgov.com.


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From the City Council Meeting, Monday April 15th

Last nights council meeting only lasted 2 hours. This was a rarity. It started with comments from the public. The notable one was that the city should not be blamed for foreclosures. That is the job of Oakland County. They offer help in avoiding this. Contact the Oakland County Treasurer for help.

There were 3 reappointments. The consent agenda was approved. The ones standing out were the agreement with Kimmie Horn Productions, LLC to arrange The Kimmie Horn Jazz Festival at the Southfield Municipal Campus- August 9 and 10.  The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation - request use of the municipal campus front lawn and walkways for their annual 2.6 mile run. The capital improvement plan. Which include Fire House renovations and exercise equipment. Replace Police Body Vests, obtain license plate readers. They want to purchase an automatic vacuum and replace some of the linoleum in the Pavilion.

The Public Hearings were approved. the first was for Drifter Vans LLC to open a sales room, to sell custom camper  vans already built on site. he vans are being purchased from Ford. The second request was rom Tots Academy Home day Care to operate a group Care Home. This requires a state license. $ people came up in support of this request. There is going to be another marijuana store on Northwestern Highway. Several people got up to speak against it. It was approved by a 5-2 vote.

Jazz  in he Library starts tomorrow night. The 66th city anniversary will be celebrate on April 28. That is all I Have to report. Log onto the Southfield City website to find out more events and news.  Harmen

From the City Council Meeting, Monday March 25th

Last nights council meeting started off with the Southfield Fire Department Honor Guard presenting the colors. Eleven new fire fighters were sworn in. Chief Menifee gave a moving speech welcoming the new officers. He also mentioned that a hockey match between the Fire Dept. and the Police Dept. will be held on April 7th at 1pm at the ice arena.

During the communications section, some of the owners of liquor stores , and their supporters spoke against gas stations being allowed to sell liquor. `While numerous other people spoke for the idea, stating the convenience of the sale.

During the public hearing portion of the meeting, 4 items came up for their second reading. It seems we are getting a Panda Express on Telegraph Rd. Another car wash on Telegraph and 9 Mile rd., A request of the Philippine American Culture Center to refurbish a vacant church on Lahser Rd. A special use request to reuse a vacant former restaurant and bar/lounge on Southfield Rd. This would cater to an older crowed with karaoke and ball room dancing with a live band. Some very exciting developments.

The most discussion was held with the request to permit liquor sales at the gas station on Greenfield and 10 Mile. The owners of the liquor stores and their attorneys gave presentations as did the owners of the gas station with their attorneys. They cited the dangers of people drinking and driving and the idea that minors would be able to get hold of liquor.  The lawyer for the gas station rebutted that. Council President stated that our Police Chief has seen no increase in accidents or drunk driving arrests in areas where gas stations have sold booze. Considering that liquor is tightly controlled by the state and a license costs over $400,000 it would seem almost impossible.  The council voted to allow the request to move forward. It was a long meeting.

From the City Council Meeting, Monday March 5th

Last nights council meeting was long. They appointed  a new deputy city clerk, they reappointed 4 members of the Planning Commission and made an appointment to the city Center Advisory Board. !9 people were reappointed or newly appointed to different commissions. Me being one that got reappointed to the Total Living Commission.

Irv Lowenberg, our city Treasurer, gave a presentation from the county treasurer, on how to prevent foreclosures. If you have not paid your city taxes the bill has been sent to the county. You have till April 1 to pay or your residents will go into foreclosure. You will be charged a 4% administration fee on top of 12% interest. After which time your residence will be auctioned off. The auctions will be held from July till August. Call the county treasurer at 248-858-0611 or http://www.oakgov.com/treasurer to get assistance.

5 items were on the Consent Agenda for discussion. Cornerstone Plaza proposed a Facade renovation to attract new tenants. Panda Express wants to build a new restaurant at 2901 telegraph Rd. The Shell Gas Station at 24839 Greenfield Rd. wants to add alcohol sales. The Philippine American Cultural Center wants to reuse a vacant church at 23800 Lahser. A night club wants to renovate a lower building area of an existing building for a new restaurant/nigh club catering to a older crowd. Finally, the owner of the building at 23055 Telegraph wants to build a new car wash, with solar panels, EV charging stations, and the ability to recycle the water. All these items will be up for discussion again in 2 weeks.

The Police Dept. is looking for volunteers to join its Police Academy. This is a exciting program, where you learn the operation of the department, including the dispatures' job,  a demonstration by the K9 unit, and the overall function of the dept. I would recommend this course to anyone. There will be a Job Fair tomorrow ,in the Pavilion from10am till 2pm. These will not only be for city jobs but for some outside co.  Om March 8th there will be a senior vendors fair from 10am till noon. On March 20 the DSO will perform at 7pm. Tickets are $15. All for now Harmen.





 *  Any opinions expressed are those of Mr. Guenther and do not necessarily represent the collective view of the CVHA and/or its individual members.