Am I a geek or a nerd?

Property Taxes…
February 2, 2010, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Geek | Tags: , ,

Last week we all received a letter in our mail boxes from the big boss. He announced that we can expect a 33% reduction in property tax revenue in our county due to declining property values and foreclosures. That most of our work is funded by property taxes of course means budget cuts are heading our way. I have no idea where this leaves my position, our division, the whole entity, or our locals.  I don’t know what percent of our funding is Title I, Title II, Property Tax, or from other sources. I don’t know if consultant services is viewed as necessary or redundant. I don’t know if Social Studies is viewed as necessary either.

A few days later I had my own up close and personal moment with property tax. I’ve been looking at buying a condominium (don’t start with me about fees etc, I don’t want to mow my lawn, shovel my snow or fix my roof, I want to lock the door for two months and go to Italy…) and given the incredible drops in prices I’ve been able to consider a large number of options.  Many of these are shortsales, the last stop before foreclosure, and obviously are priced much lower than they were purchased for. How much lower? I was stunned to find out. The property I am considering is priced at 25% of its selling price 7 years ago. Someone paid four times more for this than they are now asking. And it’s not a short sale…How I don’t know. The property tax will certainly be lower for me than for the last owner, and less money will flow to my office.

Here’s what this says to me though: How did we get there? Not here, here is where we are supposed to be. I mean there. There, where someone paid four times more than the current value for this 800 square foot late 1980s condo? Common sense would tell you that the price was seriously inflated given its location in Macomb County, its age, and its amenities (or lack there of…).  Where was the common sense? And why did local and state governments (not just ours in MI) not consider the rainy day that was sure to come?


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