Last week the area was abuzz with all this talk about local communities, including the city of Syracuse, going through all sorts of new assessments that were jacking up the worth of some properties as much as 50%. I decided I had to talk about this issue since it’s pretty big right now.

Not my home; I wish!

Let’s face some facts, if we can. First, the Syracuse area survived, quite nicely I might add, this national housing crisis that beat up most of the country. As a matter of fact, for the last 2 years this area was either number one or number two almost every month as far as how its housing market was performing.

Second, for most of us the assessments on our homes has been a long time coming. I don’t know if my home has been assessed since we moved here by anyone except Zillow, and they don’t count.

Third, most of us know outside of the city limits knows that the worth of our homes has increased, sometimes dramatically. I know that we got a great deal on our home when we bought it, as we got it for less than its previous assessment. Over the past 10 years people have purchased homes around ours for a lot more money than what our home was worth when we bought it. Most of those homes are smaller than our home, and we also have the largest plot of land on the street. Based on that we know that our house has appreciated at least 60% from what we paid for it.

Fourth, we know that communities are hurting in this economy, and though we don’t like it, one way for them to get extra money, other than sending the police out to write speeding tickets, is to reassess our properties, knowing that since the last time they did it our homes worth has gone up.

So, all of this makes sense for communities to do, and we shouldn’t be upset with that part.

Having said that, we should probably be upset with how the new assessments could possibly be done. In this Syracuse.com news story on the new assessments, the commissioner of assessment for the city said that legitimately his office can only get to 2,000 homes a year out of 42,000 homes throughout the city. In some communities around the country, they pay for outside auditors to use computer technology to determine the worth of homes, never visiting neighborhoods to certify their work. It’s one reason why so many people in other areas of the country have had their homes foreclosed upon, along with bad mortgage deals.

I know at some point the other shoe will drop for our home and it’s going to cost us a lot more in property taxes. They already went up when the Town of Clay reneged on its promise for lower taxes when they merged the police departments with another locale’s department; politicians tend to lie unfortunately. At that time I figure we’ll have to make a decision whether to continue living here or sell the house and get on with life. I probably won’t be happy, like no one else is happy. But at least I’ll understand.

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