Dickinson best in Michigan for tax value

If you’re searching for a place to live in Michigan where you’ll get a good return on your tax dollars, look no further than Dickinson County.

That’s according to a study released by SmartAsset, a New York financial technology company that recently completed its fourth annual analysis of property taxes.

Dickinson County, we’re happy to report, ranked No. 1 in the state for best overall value in 2018. This is not a one-year blip. Dickinson ranked second in 2017, third in 2016 and first in 2015.

The study’s methodology is limited, but plausible. SmartAsset looks only at school rankings, crime rates and property taxes.

To measure the quality of schools, the company calculates the average math and reading/language arts proficiencies for all school districts in the county. Within each state, schools are then ranked between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best), based on those average scores.

Dickinson County was given a school rating of 10 for the 2018 analysis.

Also, SmartAsset calculated the violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents. For Dickinson County, that number was 554, which compares to an average of 2,710 statewide.

Using the school and crime numbers, SmartAsset then calculates a community score, which is the ratio of the school rank to the crime rate.

Researchers also look at the number of households, the county’s median home value and the median property tax payment to calculate the average effective property tax rate. The rate calculated for Dickinson County was 1.65 percent. That compares to a statewide average of 1.71 percent.

Finally, SmartAsset calculated a tax value by creating a ratio of the community score to the property tax rate.

Dickinson County ranked first in the state with an overall value index of 91.93, edging out Leelanau County at 91.14. Ontonagon County place third at 90.8.

In all, four Upper Peninsula counties made the top 10, with Houghton County ranking fifth and Chippewa County finishing at No. 9. As in the past, rural counties generally did better than urban ones in the SmartAsset study, but that alone doesn’t account for the rankings. For instance, several Northern Michigan counties fared poorly because of higher crime rates or lower school ratings.

Dickinson County’s tax rate is slightly below the state average, yet the county ranks sixth overall for best school value and third for lowest crime rate.

Of course, many other factors could be included in a study on property taxes, such as health and social services, recreation, culture and infrastructure. Those might be hard to quantify.

But in the SmartAsset analysis — for a fourth year in a row — Dickinson County residents can again claim a hefty bang for their tax buck.

Good schools, low crime, reasonable taxes. Welcome to Dickinson County.