Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More sullen, bloated government inefficiency – the background

We all know that I can be, well, a wee bit stubborn. Wee. And that I have a long history of doing things for the principle of the thing, no matter what a time/money/energy suck it turns out to be.

So given that, it should be no surprise that I’ve been contesting rather vigorously the increased assessment of my dumpy humble abode – you know, where the grand poobahs of Chicago decided that, all evidence to the contrary, we here in Chicago live in a microcosm of prosperity, where property values have gone up significantly from 2008-2009. By 74% in my case. Seriously. Even I can’t make this shit up.

To improve my mood even MORE, because you can look up everyone’s assessments online, I can see that my yuppie neighbors with their gut rehabbed single family home that they have on the market for $1.3M – yeah, they got a huge decrease and are now assessed lower than me. Again, with my place worth less than half that. This is just not right on so many levels that I refuse to let it go.

Therefore, I file my appeals. Simple enough process, whereby you look up houses comparable to yours (“comps”, they call them) that are assessed lower, take pictures if need be, send it all in and wait. These were the results:

First appeal – nada. “Our analysis indicates the assessed valuation should remain as originally proposed.”
Second appeal – same.
Third appeal – they throw me a bone in the form of a slight reduction, though I’m still higher than yuppie neighbors. “Geez, this one’s persistent. Give her some miniscule reduction, maybe she’ll go away.”
Fourth appeal – this one is to the Board of Appeals, whereby I take some forms to one of the County Buildings and they get back to me with a court date.

Friday was that court date. Thursday I wander around in the blustery cold to take pics of the comps I’m offering up, and throw in a few of Yuppie House for good measure. According to their instructions, you should take pics of the front, back, garage, etc., so I do, and seethe even more when I see that one of the comps is also a beautifully rehabbed house, with a spankin’ new 3-car 2-story brick garage with a roof deck. WTH? Do they have monkeys doing assessments with a dartboard or something?

So for Friday, I plan ahead. The appointment is at 2:45, so I assume that I’ll get called up probably around 4PM or so. And that we’ll be herded up all at the same time, so I won’t get my say until maybe 5, given how I’m usually last in the queue with these things. This means I need to park in a parking garage, since you get towed if you’re on certain streets between 4 and 6, and there’s NO way I’ll be done before 4. Ha, as if! Let’s recall my numerous trips downtown to Small Claims Court and dealing with Dwight (“ID, yes or no!”) and getting into a tug-of-war with the security guard who thought my keychain was a lethal weapon and wanted to confiscate it (Me: “I don’t have time for this shit!”). Ah, the memories.

I park, leave the Keychain of Doom in the car, grab my dog-eared copy of War and Peace, the XL thermos of coffee, the huge bag of trail mix, and of course my huge file of documents, pictures, and spreadsheets - and set off. As ready as I'll ever be.....

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