Thursday, February 05, 2009

Assessments meeting ... overflow

Tuesday's meeting that saw 600 Augusta County residents turn out to protest high real estate assessments has brought a flurry of correspondence from folks who were not able to find parking ... not complaints ... but inquiries about how they could help since they were not able to get into the building because of the crowds. Parking overflowed into the neighborhood behind the church, and the bank and Burger King on either sides of the church.

This lady's email was a good representation of the emails and phone calls I've received on this subject. She works at the University of Virginia and lives in Augusta County:
As recent residents of Augusta County, I was truly amazed at the HUGE turnout last night.

My husband and I arrived by 6:45 p.m. and there simply was no parking within close proximity of the church except up the road at the bank. There were at least 60-75 folks standing in line outside of the church and more coming. By then, all of the paved parking areas were filled and folks were parking in the open grassy areas. I would estimate approximately 100 or so vehicles were maneuvering through the narrow residential streets and up and down Rt. 11 looking for a space. Due to a permanent ankle injury, risk of slipping on ice was not an option. Like many others, we gave up and headed home. Riding by the church we could see the packed fellowship hall. We stayed up to watch the 11 o’clock news.

We have already talked to several folks and we plan to attend the BOS meeting on March 11.
There was a report on a national news show this morning where home prices in other areas have dropped dramatically, some for less than cost of a new car. Sadly, foreclosures continue to increase, even in Augusta County. Just a drive around our immediate neighborhood ... reveals even the smaller homes are remaining on the market 9+ months and prices slashed. Surrounding properties, including building lots remaining unsold at least one year later. Analyst are saying they believe the housing market will continue to fall at least until end of 2009 and possibly in 2010.

We plan to appeal our assessment with plans to argue the $3,500 assessment for a ventless gas log fireplace (no chimney/no stack), the 33.33% increase in storage sheds compared to less than 16% on the livable structure and the 50+% increase in land value. But how do you present a case when there are no comparables. The increase in storage sheds was across the board throughout the county, increasing from $3.75 sq. ft. to $5.00. My argument will be that it appears someone just decided to round it upwards to a nice even number.

My husband and I will do what we can and I’m willing to circulate the petition around our Brookmill neighborhood, if that will help.
Together, Augusta ... we can make a difference!

Photos by SWAC Daughter & SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
February 3, 2009

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