WEST OLIVE, Mich. (WZZM) - Ottawa County could be turning the corner on slower economic times. In Tuesday's State of the County address, leaders said property tax revenue is increasing for the first time in years.
"Residential value (property tax) comprises 70% of the county tax base," says Al Vanderberg, Ottawa County Administrator.
County leaders have been checking the financial pulse and are now making a diagnosis.
"Property taxes budgeted as a zero increase for 2013 is expected to increase by the year end for the first time since 2009," says Vanderberg.
County officials credit home values rising and new houses being built faster.
"In 2009, we had about 300 hundred new home starts in Ottawa County. In 2012, we've doubled that number with over 600 home starts," says Shannon Felgner, Ottawa County Communications Manager.
Home builders say many homes have increased in value by $20,000 over the past couple years and they say often times homes are sold before construction is even completed.
"Last year was a record year for us, as was the previous year, and this year we're looking to trump that," says Josh Meyering, Office Manger with Jim Tibbe Homes.
During Tuesday's address, officials also said Ottawa County is the job growth leader in Michigan. The county's unemployment rate has dropped about 2% in the past two years.