“We’re grieving again,” I said recently to our appraiser, adding, “I guess it’s something like drinking again.”
He could see, he said, how the two might be related, the assessments here presumably being so out of whack.
Along that line, I have here in front of me a tear sheet from the March 18 Times real estate section with a photo taken by our neighbor, Gordon Grant, of a 3,000-square-foot four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath house on parklike 2.4 acres with “a new pool, meandering perennial gardens and the privacy to enjoy both.”
Asking price: $3.5 million.
Annual taxes: $13,100.
Okay. Let’s see. . . . This house is worth — if they get what they want — six times what our shack in Springs is and yet the owners have been paying only twice what we have been in taxes.
A year ago, when we first began to grieve, having finally awakened to the gross disparity between presumed full values and actual values, I said if enough of us filed grievance forms we might wind up doing the town’s reassessment work for it.
It’s generally agreed that the time for a townwide reassessment has come, long come. Yet nothing’s ever done. I’m told that while the price tag for such an undertaking might appear large, at $3 million, say, the cost spread out among the town’s 25,000 parcels works out to $120 per. And that that $120 could be pro-rated, as could the effects of increased assessments on properties that had not been reassessed in years.
Fairness is the goal here, a not unsurprising goal in a country whose institutions are ostensibly dedicated to it.
If it hasn’t been obvious at the national level, it is certainly so here that middle-class homeowners have been subsidizing well-heeled ones when it comes to property taxes.
Back to the March 18 blurb. . . . “To get to the house, you drive through automatic gates and up a long driveway to a parking area. The glass sides of the foyer allow views of the large, heated Gunite pool and waterfall behind the house. . . . Meandering perennial gardens and mature trees contribute to the parklike setting. . . .”
Were it our house, that blurb would read, “To get to the house, bordered on one side by old mowers, rusted folding chairs, the frame of a patio table whose glass top shattered in a windstorm, bikes, and Obama signs, you drive by a mailbox in a sling up an undulating driveway in whose declivities waterfowl serenely glide when it rains. The Palladian kitchen window (when the pollen’s washed off) allows views of a lawn of many species in which ticks gambol and at whose edge a scabrous plastic lamb and a stone owl and rabbit look on in wonder as perennials vanish one by one, tugged under by the owners’ prize herd of meandering voles. . . .”
With Grievance Day looming as I write, I trust our patience soon will no longer be taxed.