Ramblings of Silver Blue


09 Mar

An open question to the City of Hampton.

I haven’t received my assessment yet on my house that I have owned, basically, since 1997.

From 2000 to 2006, however, your assessment of my property has caused my taxes to jump 60%.

My pay, in that same period of time, has increased 11%.

With energy (electricity, natural gas) costs higher than ever before as companies attempt record profits, as well as gasoline prices at near record highs (this time as companies CLAIM record profits), and an increase in insurance rates for property, it soon will be where people will be moving out of the Hampton Roads region. Homeowners simply cannot, nor should they, accept a city taking a windfall of cash. Instead of increasing the city’s budget by the amount of the assessment increases, the city should be held to the same standards that those employees lucky enough to receive a raise close to the C.P.I. get. If the C.P.I. increases by 3.9%, then that is all the city’s budget should be allowed to increase. If my assessment goes up another 18% this year, and the tax rate stays the same, I will be paying more than double in taxes than I did seven short years ago. For no better public services (my trash has been missed several occasions, excepting the one Friday where they destroyed the trash can, an increase in trash disposal fees, wastewater fees, and the like; a refusal to do away with the much-abhorred “city stickers” for automobiles [we’d still be paying the damn fee, just not have to worry about scrape and stick]) and for the increased corporate tax breaks being doled out (look at the Power Plant/Mercury Plaza/Peninsula Town Center (former Coliseum Mall) area and you’ll see where all your tax dollars are going. Not to you, but to the companies that take your money), and for an attempt at eminent domain (the old Sentara site, which is to be constructed with a new school and the WONDERFUL (NOT!) plan of redeveloping the Kecoughtan corridor) just go to show how out of touch the City Council actually is with its residents. That, of course, seems to be norm across the Hampton Roads region, so there’s really no surprise there. Soon, my house, which I bought for 89,900 ten years ago, will be worth a quarter of a million in the cities eyes. Not the building, of course. The land. It’s only a matter of time, I’m sure, before the city comes knocking and says, “sorry, we’re taking your house because we want to build multi-million dollar residences here that reflect our vision of what we want Hampton to become. Sorry that there’s no where for you to go that you can afford. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

Am I upset at the “cooling” of the Real Estate market? Not on your life. I think it was overinflated to begin with. What I hope, however, is as the market contracts, and house prices fall, that the assessments follow suit.

But the cynic in me says I’m to be sadly disappointed.

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