Has anyone fought property taxes?

ancona

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I had my property reassessed in '09, after having it evaluated by an appraiser just two years before. The new assessment by the county was reasonable. In fact, the lower asasessed value reduced my porperty tax bill by around 35%.

If you disagree with the property assessor, you can challenge them with sales of similar properties in your area over the last year. Simply get on line and search their own website for sales within a half mile or so of your place, take each one and divide the sale price by the number of square feet under roof, and then take all the numbers to achieve an average. Your properties value should be within a few percentage points of the average value for the area.
 

Penn

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My argument is the mils. I would like to cut it down. I found 10 properties- that the mils are lower.. so they can lower mine- or adjust those 10.
 

ancona

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I was not talking about millage, which can vary between neighborhoods and taxing authorities Cliff, What I meant was the actual homes assessed value. After the big crash in '08 and '09, most properties dropped precipitously in value, leading many folks to challenge county valuations on properties. As could probably be anticipated, as properties were revalued, a lot of new and recently enhanced projects and programs were radically cut back because the tax revenues no longer met the budgetary requirements of those programs. In our community, a lot of programs have had their budgets cut back to 1990 levels and they are still falling. With the end of the Shuttle as a space vehicle, it will only get worse.

I suspect your community is still wrestling with pension benefit and health care promises made during the boom years, and are looking for ways to offset falling values with raised millage rates.
 

Penn

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Yes- pensions are an issue here.

In fact- the county is planning a bankrupcy- any time between today and 3-4 years they said.
 

ancona

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If they were smart, they would do it now while sentiment is quite low surrounding unions and the ridiculous promises they extorted out of municipalities and cities during boom times, which are now untenable and unreasonable. Things like lifetime health benefits, defined pensions tied to nothing more than ever increasing taxes, etc. etc. etc.

Get your property reassessed to reflect its current value and see if the tax rate changes. Whatever you do, it won't be reflected until your next tax bill, because most places tax in arrears rather than forward.
 

mike

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The new assessment by the county was reasonable.
Dude, come on. What is reasonable about a tax on an imaginary value of a sale that isn't actualized? On the scale of tax evilness, property taxes are second only to the inflation tax.
 
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Shelby-villian

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Not that this helps but its good to know. The people of North Dakota are trying to repeal property taxes.

"The granddaddy of property tax revolts is now underway in North Dakota.

The North Dakota group, Empower the Taxpayer writes "On June 12, 2012, the voters of North Dakota will have the opportunity to make North Dakota truly 'Legendary', as the first to pass a state constitutional amendment that will abolish the property tax, prioritize spending by the legislature, and finally give local governments something they never had: true local control over spending."
 

benjamen

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Number one thing property taxes pay for is public schools.

I have never understand forcing someone else pay for my children's education?
 

Jetstream

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Where I live, infrastructure is crumbling; potholes in the roads that make driving an occupational hazard, water and sewer lines that are deteriorating due to being way past their life of usefulness, parks getting less and less care, roadsides and medians looking like a scene from a horror movie and on and on.

But my house taxes keep climbing and though a few people grumble, most simply pay and carry on. Very frustrating. I am seriously considering moving outside of the city limits so as I can at least work my property without all the levels of governmental hassles.
 

mike

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Where I live, infrastructure is crumbling; potholes in the roads that make driving an occupational hazard, water and sewer lines that are deteriorating due to being way past their life of usefulness, parks getting less and less care, roadsides and medians looking like a scene from a horror movie and on and on.

But my house taxes keep climbing and though a few people grumble, most simply pay and carry on. Very frustrating. I am seriously considering moving outside of the city limits so as I can at least work my property without all the levels of governmental hassles.
Roads are supposed to be financed by gas taxes which are actually 40% of the price you pay at the pump.
 

DCFusor

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Ah, where to begin?

Road taxes go to the feds, who in turn only give them back to states under certain conditions. My state, VA, has been known to turn them down as in some cases the restrictions make the work cost more than the fed money provides to make up for that. And not all roads are even state roads...

VA rejected fed funds once because they came with a bunch of super-expensive restrictions and forced affirmative action demands, and VA didn't want to have to knuckle under to them. Our system of using private contractors might have almost qualified (look at the road crews, they're quite diverse) but...matter of principle, and there are not many black-woman-owned asphalt layers out there. VA just goes with the usual bidding process for things like that and gets a pretty good deal. Of course, the real deal there is the strings-attached thing - yet another way the feds are "forcing" more central statism in ignorance of the Constitution.

I'm lucky living rural, as our roads aren't in bad shape, even though we send a lot of money north to NO VA to help them with theirs. We just don't do the damage they do because of our light traffic. It's not like some potholes don't hang around long enough to get names - they do - but we know how to miss them.

Real estate/PP taxes. Ugh. I can understand one justification, barely. If you own a lot and aren't productive, they tend to kill you off and move in someone else who is productive - which is arguably one of the few good goals the government tries for.

On the other hand, when I lived in nova (northern va), encroaching development drove away all the farmers at the edge of surburbia (one of their wives became a maid-servant to my family) - it was enough to take them from marginal profits to losses, with no fault of their own. Their land value "rose" due to the suburbs creeping out toward them - that principle noted above about "local sales of land". No farmer can operate with land/taxes valued like a suburb.

Where I live, when I first moved in here, unimproved land (farm) was taxed at a fixed price per acre - $3. Barns and homes both fairly low-valued. Then they said, you know, every other county is doing this via assessment, we gotta get into the 20th century. I went ballistic, but this is one fight I didn't win, as they avoided pissing off the sheep by changing to the system (with a high rate) but putting on ridiculously low assessments, so no one's bill went up - at first. But as I tried to warn the sheep, that didn't go on for very long at all - And now taxes are so high that they have to collect them every 6 months instead of yearly to keep the numbers looking not-utterly-ridiculous.

All they had to do is come around and say, hey, it's obvious your 5 bedroom house is worth a lot more than that 10k assessment we put on it when we started the program, and it's damn hard to argue - and too late by far, at that point.

I of course have been "cheating" the entire time, via not having building permits for homes at all - it's all storage sheds and barns from their pov. They are finally figuring this out - I got a visit a couple weeks back from the inspector over some obvious new construction going on - my new solar upgrade, and will have to get a permit for that. That alone won't kill me, but you know where tangling with the gov tends to lead one.

It's about time to re-start my little political action group (I once funded one that stopped a gas pipeline from destroying my county and still have the contacts).

There are no sales of comparable land around here - they have nothing to go on, and since the assessors know where their bread is buttered, good luck getting a fair assessment around here - it ain't happenin - everything is pre-crash valued, and some have tried to get reductions, no dice - in fact, in retaliation, they tend to find little improvements they've overlooked in the past and you get a higher number, not a lower one.

While everyone else has to cut back and really tighten their belts, the gov (and to a not-lesser extent, our local phone company/cable monopoly) recently remodeled their stuff in the most expensive way - rebuilt the courthouse from the inside out (far more costly than tearing it down and building another) and still are hiring useless girls to sit behind windows where there are no customers most of the time (it's a tiny county - only 20k souls or so).

They need to be aware they are not ENTITLED to good times no matter how badly the governments as a whole have mismanaged things to give us really bad times.
Yeah, the county didn't create the crash, but they are part and parcel of all the problems. I even have to send the IRS my tax forms through their address so they can keep tabs on my numbers....

I think it might be time to scare up about 300 voters (a huge crowd for here) and go have a little talk with them...print up some yard signs etc like we did before, and generally stir things up a bit. Hell, we still have to plow our own roads if we want to get out within 3 days of even a minor snow around here - time to send in some bills for that, too.

Of course, the gov (at all levels) legally indemnifies themselves from class action lawsuits. Handy trick that. And if you get in a pissing match with the phone company - suddenly the good ol boys in the gov find some way to hurt you more - they're all related to each other. I cut my service to nil - phone and inet - and it's never under 85/month...for a landline. No cable. No caller ID, nothing, just a phone and DSL.

And oh yes, they are trying to figure out how to tax my electric car extra, as it doesn't use enough gasoline for them to rip me off that way...Funny though, most of the proposals involve extra taxes on power company electricity (did you know that is already almost as bad as gasoline as it is? All those little hidden fees....)
That one won't affect me...but it will most - even those who don't drive electric, probably - ever notice how all mistakes always land in favor of the government? So it's become quite obvious they aren't mistakes at all.
 

Penn

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Today I submitted my 15 page package. It sounds like it must still go before the board. I was hoping to avoid that. Bah.
 

DCFusor

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Best of luck! I look forward to such encounters, as I can put on a super-charmer gestalt (careful not to go over the top so it's not obviously a con) and usually do far better than I would with just paper back and forth. I can easily appear so nice and honest and earnest (without seeming naive) it's hard to say no to me.

But it's a matter of very quickly judging the audience and adapting the approach to them - what'll work with this group? Sometimes difficult to be adroit enough, but for me, worth it more often than not. I'm a pretty lucky guy in general, and I can really put on the charisma on demand (though it makes my head hurt later, paybacks are hell for borrowing "life") and win the day if not always, more often than most.

Repeat: Best of luck!
Remember, though - these are desperate people and paper pushing fucknuts with no other means of survival (that they know of) are dangerous. They have to be really scared about setting a precedent that will wash them away...
 

Penn

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Fixing ‘Financial Mess’
posted by Alex Ferreras on June 1, 2012 in Bankruptcy

SUNBURY ( Source: Mark Gilger The News-Item, Shamokin, Pa. (MCT) – Property taxes will be raised 2.5 mills in Northumberland County in 2013 as part of a long-term plan to avoid bankruptcy.

The 11 percent increase is necessary to pay off a $5.1 million loan the county will pursue – money it needs to meet payroll and other operating expenses.

During a news conference Thursday morning, Commissioner Chairman Vinny Clausi outlined a plan he says is necessary for fiscal security as the county fights growing costs for labor, health care and pensions that total millions of dollars every year.

“We will have a $40 million deficit in 2022 if we don’t do something to correct this financial mess,” Clausi said. “We can’t afford to go backward like the years when (Allen) Cwalina, (Charles) Lewis (Charles) and (Sam) Deitrick were in office. I won’t let that happen again.”

Noting this is “only the beginning,” Clausi thanked budget director Jeff McClintock and Controller Tony Phillips for their assistance.

“The plan is good and achievable,” McClintock said. “The cash flow problem will be corrected by the end of 2015 with the tax increase. This is definitely the lesser of two evils, with the other option being bankruptcy.”

Phillips thanked the commissioners for allowing him to be part of all budget negotiations and the long-term plan.

“This is the least painful way to get us back on solid financial footing and move forward,” he said. “We must continue to make cuts, look at making technology advances and negotiate union contracts. This isn’t an end-all to the financial problems, but it’s a good start.”

Loan now; tax OK later

The 2.5-mill increase is expected to generate $1.85 million, since one mill is equivalent to $740,000.

Total millage would rise from 20.318 to 22.818, which will remain the same for at least the next three years. The county raised taxes by 1.95 mills in this year’s budget.

Approximately one mill will be used toward debt service for the next 10 years, which is the life of the $5.1 million loan being sought. The remaining 1.5 mills will be used for the general fund, which includes payroll and operating expenses.

The proposed increase is scheduled to be approved as part of the 2013 budget by the end of December, but the loan will be sought now.

Even with the proposed 2.5-mill tax increase, Clausi said taxpayers will be paying less than they were prior to 2009, when commissioners lowered the rate by 3.367 mills in conjunction with the sale of Mountain View Manor. The county generated $16.5 million from the sale, but that money can only be used to pay off long-term debt.

$12 million loan, too?

The county may also need to obtain a $12 million bond to pay for upgrades to the 911 center that involve constructing three new communication towers to comply with a federal mandate to change from a wide to narrow band frequency system by 2013.

If the county has to secure both loans, the overall millage increase would jump from 2.5 to 4.25. That would represent a 20.917 percent increase in millage from 2012.

But Clausi said the county and other entities are seeking an extension from the federal government to give them time to secure grants to help fund the 911 center upgrades.

With that, the higher tax increase is in limbo for now.

The plan lays out some other situations:

- If the commissioners choose only to finance the $12 million bond for the 911 center and not the other $5.1 million, taxes would have to increase a total of 13 mills, or 63.9 percent, in 2013.

- If the county did nothing to address its financial problems and kept millage at its current rate, it would go bankrupt in January because it wouldn’t have any cash to pay its bills.

Cash-flow woes

McClintock said the county faced a $1.5 million fund balance deficit in 2011 – another reason, Clausi said, he pushed to develop a long-range plan. McClintock said a $2.5 million to $3 million fund balance is needed by 2015 to correct cash flow issues. Cash flow problems exist because the county only receives tax payments during a certain time of the year and has no constant influx of cash that would better allow it to make payroll and meet other operating expenses.

Clausi said a tax increase to supplement the general fund also may be needed in 2016 and beyond, depending on the county’s financial condition, which he said nobody could predict at this point.

According to other county figures, total revenue for 2012 is $15,035,320, including $13,381,420 in the general fund and $1,653,900 in debt service. Through the tax increase by the end of 2015, total revenue will jump to $18,180,320, including $15,231,420 in the general fund and $2,948,900 in debt service.

Rising costs make that extra money necessary. Clausi said that while 106 positions have been cut in county government, trimming payroll by $4.7 million over the past four-plus years, those savings have been wiped out by increases in union contracts and pension and health care costs.

Clausi said the commissioners have agreed to budget approximately $100,000 for 2013 in case the county needs to hire an additional employee in the controller’s or budget director’s office to help with the workload involved in his long-term financial plan. He said the employee costs would not total $100,000, but believes it is a good practice to set aside the money for possible other expenses involved with carrying out the financial plan.

‘A last resort’

Commissioner Stephen Bridy praised Clausi for his efforts.

“This plan is a last resort,” he said. “It’s the only other option beside bankruptcy that is available to us.”

He said the county must continue to look for ways to generate revenue “so we can give back to the taxpayers in the future. This is their money.”

___
 

DCFusor

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What a load of dingoes kidneys. Hardly mention any real serious cuts - you know, like we have to do in tough times - even sell stuff. In my county, every window for customers in the courthouse has 6-7 girls waiting on....no one at all. After all, just one window so they can't even all get to it at once. And they're so hard up taxes have tripled in the last couple years. Yes, 3x.
They just get paid to sit and chat with one another.

Kind of like - you ever wonder why the girl at the doc's office window is always a highly paid nurse - but all she does is get you to fill out forms and do general filing work (but for 3x the pay?). Entitlements! Oh, so sorry you have it bad...

Longest line I've seen in there in years is about 4 people.

Oh, the unions and pensions are killing them. Fire them then. No, really do it. If not now, just refuse to negotiate the next contract,,,,forever.
Yeah, unions are great. Think of the great things they've done for the steel industry, the auto industry...all that crap that has had to be moved overseas away from them - or go out of business entirely. Yeah, they help the worker - price themselves out of a job - in a fair market, they'd all be gone already.

Personally, I've always refused to work at a union house. If relations are that bad, so that I need two bosses, one of which I have to pay, well then, they don't want my talents bad enough. I've never felt the need for that - I can just go walk to the next place that appreciates me and treats me right in return for me treating them right. That polarization is sick, sick sick.

I note when TSHTF, like in GM - they suddenly get "reasonable" or at least less utterly ridiculous. But the UAW actually wound up owning a controlling amount of GM in the deal - and sold it quick! How can they play this stupid game of "it's all the bosses fault" if they themselves are the bosses? Even those stupid corrupt fskers figured that one out in a hurry, and went back to what they know - being parasites.
 
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rblong2us

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The zombie's, as Bill Bonner calls em, only know parasitic growth, will never concede anything to their host and eventually will flame out, along with the host.

The host appears to be crumbling.

Best keep out of the way.
 

Penn

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I asked my neighbor to phone over there. She said she would. I wish they could give me at least a token cut.
 
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