So right after I posted about the possible final episode of our Assessment Saga Darling Hubby sent me a link to a list of the assessed values of the homes on our street. In perusing the list, I notice that of the single family homes ours is listed as the 2nd largest. Cool, we have a big house on the block. Then I look at the one that is listed at 2600 sq feet and notice it has 6 bedrooms and is only valued at $85,100…Ummm…That can’t be right…Can it? Seriously? Are my eyes playing mean and nasty tricks on me. Nope. It’s right. The state owned house right next door to us which houses mentally and physically challenged (just to be PC) is valued at just over half of our value. Shouldn’t that lower our value. Obviously that house must not look as nice as our house. It’s gotta be a piece of crap, right. Nope. It’s a beautiful brick 2 story with a relatively well kept yard. So obviously, the state doesn’t have to pay taxes to itself, that would be stupid, so they lower the value of the house. I just don’t get it…
I guess the good thing is that our house is bigger than the couple right across the street (directly next to the annoying parking lot) and they are both assessed at the highest value. Granted the one has a manicured front yard with trees and flowers while the other is just a single story brick house. They kinda put our house to shame.
Ok, so I really do think that someone out there has it in for me. I don’t know who I’ve wronged or how I went about it, but I must have pissed off someone somewhere down the line. Maybe it’s that sign I have hanging on my front door telling the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons that we didn’t appreciate their visits. Betcha that was it….
Anyway, today was the final meeting for the Assessment Board of Review. They did lower our assessment, but not to where we wanted it, nor did they reduce it to the value of the homes in our area that are nearly the same as our house. At least it dropped to $150,000 from $164,000. Now to figure out how to pay the taxes on it….There is one more step that we can take in an attempt to get it lowered more, but chances are that won’t happen (getting it lowered). I talked to the Commissioner today and he said that the board is very fair in their review (that’s what he thinks) so even if we go through the next step it may just be a waste of time. Once I get the final assessment notice in a couple days I have 10 days in which to file a Small Claims Review. I’m going to talk to Darling Hubby about it. Chances are we will just forgo this and let the city win. Either that or we are moving… and I’m not really in the mood to move…I like this house…we’ve put a lot of effort into making it home.
As for some good news (I have to have a little, don’t I…I mean I do deserve something good once in a while) we’ve made the house look a wee bit nicer…it still isn’t worth $150,000 but what can you do. Darling Hubby and I have worked hard to fix up the porch (new paint, clean windows, new floor) and we even painted the exterior side door, windows and frames along with 2 sections of the foundation. We also put up a bamboo privacy fence in our backyard. It makes it much nicer now. I’ll have to take some pictures when I get the chance. We are attempting to put in a patio in the backyard, too, and are tearing out some of the blacktop driveway that would better serve us as grass. Our yard is a big mess now, but I’m sure it will look great when we are done. Maybe then we can get $150,000 for it. Yeah…right!
Oh, and I’m feeling a bit better. This cold seems to be on the way out. Thankfully Bug didn’t get hit with it as hard as I did. He got the cough but his was more productive from the start and he didn’t cough at night (woot) and his stuffy nose wasn’t terrible. Darling Hubby managed to live with us sickies for several days and made it out unscathed. That’s something good, right?
It just doesn’t end, does it? You would think that someone out there would have at least one intelligent bone in their body when working for the government…nope…just doesn’t happen.
So in my prior Assessment post, I wrote about how the Assessment office didn’t have our paperwork and they had to talk with Mike (who was on vacation) to see what was going on. They were supposed to call me this week. We’ll it’s Wednesday and I still haven’t received a call, so, I picked up the phone and gave them a ring. Here’s what I learned during this call.
They still didn’t have my paperwork…I even spoke with Mike who came to my house. He said that at the next meeting (Aug 20th) to fix any mistakes made, he was going to present out property, and based on his discussion with Mr. McDonald, the Commissioner, was going to request a reduction from 164,000 to 150,000 since nothing was filed. I out right told him that was bull crap as I have a certified mail receipt stating the paperwork was accepted and obviously there was some sort of paperwork filed because there would have been no reason for them to even come look at the house. Also, I told him that 150,00 wasn’t fair as the houses around us have all been lowed to around 125-130,000 and the houses are pretty close in design. As far as the paperwork goes, it turns out that some lame brain secretary who doesn’t know how to read filed our paperwork under TAX instead of TWE for our last name. And, it was entered into the computer wrong, too. Luckily, Mike found it so we at least have that on our side. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t get misplaced again. Grr!
I did bring up that we asked on the paperwork for 130,000 and that when Mike was at our house, he thought that was a fair value. So, he said he was going to discuss everything with Mr. McDonald again and see if he can get it lowered even more. So apparently, he has to look at the houses in the neighborhood again to see how our house is compared to them. Hopefully, he will see that it really is only worth about 130,000. If not, I know know what’s going to happen… I don’t know if we can afford the taxes and still make ends meet with all our other bills and needs… And the government wonders why they can’t get people to move into the city. Everything is ass deep in BS.
God, I hate the government! Will this ever end?
So July 1st was the deadline for when we’d hear something back about our assessment and if things were changed…well, that came and went and we still didn’t receive anything in the mail. I just figured that since they had to go back over ours a second time we might have to wait a little longer. The weeks came and went and here I sit, July 30th and still don’t have anything in my hands. So, I get on the phone and call the Assessors Office to find out what’s going on. I spoke with a very nice man (damn that I didn’t get his name!) who nicely told me they didn’t have any paperwork for my address….Um…What? Did you really just say you didn’t have my paperwork? Then why did Mike call me to set up a time to check the number of bathrooms if there was no paperwork. Did he just decide that he needed to check my house out? No, I don’t think so. I also am looking at the Certified Mail Receipt from the post office which was accepted and signed for on April 16th at 11:01 am. I really think there’s some paperwork somewhere, don’t ya think?
So anyway, I’m no more ahead than I was before. The guy on the phone said he would look at Mike’s paperwork (Mike’s on vacation…of course!) and see what he changed and look into it more and get back to me next week…I really hope it doesn’t take that long, but it’s a start, I guess. He did tell me that they will reconvene the Board of Review one more time before everything is finally finalized to fix any mistakes they made. Makes me wonder how many mistakes they make if they usually reconvene again anyway…
Seriously, I don’t know that we can afford the mortgage payment if the assessment isn’t lowered. Still keeping my fingers crossed that something good will come of this.
So this morning we met with Mike from the Assessment office. He was basically there to check on the number of bathrooms and look at the foundation to make sure it wasn’t crumbling. He did and while he was looking in the basement, I mentioned that the house had also been listed incorrectly as a 2 family when it was obviously only a 1 family. He said that he wasn’t aware of that and when he looked at his sheet, yup, there it was. They never mentioned it to him! They only said check the bathrooms and foundation…The family listing was right up there in our complaint…whatever. I’m a little annoyed about that, but what can you do? Anyway, he said he’d make the change personally and as of noon today we should be correctly listed as a single family residence. Woohoo!
He did say that the Board of Assessment has already been through the B’s (our street starts with B) so a decision has pretty much been rendered, but since we had complaints about how the house was listed, they will more than likely revisit our complaint and hopefully (fingers crossed) we will get a lower assessment by July 1st. I did come right out and ask him what he thought the value of our house was having seen the inside and he said that what we were asking as a value was very fair and that it was very likely the board would come down to just a smidge higher than what we were asking for.
So, hopefully come July 1st, I’ll get some notification of what our new assessment is going to be. I’m hoping that it’s right around the 130 we were claiming.
Oh, and for those of you who read this blog and are homeowners, you should check out what your assessment is EVERY YEAR and check out the values of the homes selling in your area to see if you are being assessed fairly. When your city changes your assessment, they have to notify you and you are allowed to contest it so it’s in your best interest to do so!
I got a call this morning from Mike at the Assessors office and we’ve set up a time for him to come in and check to see how many bathrooms we really have. They have us listed as 2 fulls and we only have 1.5. It’s a start for something. Hopefully he will address that the house is also listed as a 2 family when it really is a single family. Fingers crossed this takes us somewhere good. Maybe I’ll know more after 9:30 on Friday.
So yesterday was the assessment appeal hearing. We didn’t go because it seemed like a waste of time. We won’t hear anything for a while anyway.
Here is an article from today’s Times Union about the whole thing. Turns out, it was worse than Scott and I thought. Our assessment went up about 75% or so…some actually went up 95%. Ninty-five percent!!! That’s just utterly rediculous, if you ask me. Keep your fingers crossed that thing will go down to a reasonable amount for everyone involved.