Assessments Up Despite Inability to Sell Home
Why is the City not being honest about their recent property reassessments? Have bricks and mortar really increased in value by 20-30 percent? I think not.
Like all other property owners in Falls Church City, I was just informed that my house has been reassessed and its new “value” has gone up by 12 percent. My next door neighbor’s property has increased by almost 16 percent. However, the land has not increased in value at all, while our “building” has increased in value by 19.5 and 26.6 percent, respectively. How is this possible?
To make matters worse, my neighbor and I each tried to sell our homes within the last year. Both sat on the market for over nine months without even receiving sales offers. How does this cold hard reality weigh into the City’s assessment of our homes?
I recognize that the City needs more revenue. Really, I do. All municipalities are struggling with less revenue and more fiscal requirements. However, do it the right way – propose increases to the tax rate, conduct the necessary public hearings, and get feedback from citizens that both pay the taxes and receive the services that the tax monies fund. To simply shirk this responsibility by arbitrarily raising the value of our houses, not our land, is increasing taxation without representation. While there is an appeal process, it is both onerous and completely one-sided. It is solely the responsibility of the residents who pay the taxes to provide information as to why and how the City erred in their reassessment.
We all know that the Little City remains the jewel of the metropolitan area in terms of proximity to D.C., two metro stations, an active and educated populace and increasingly diverse shops and restaurants, while retaining the small town feel of a community where everyone knows one another. However, does this mean that the lumber, drywall, bricks, and construction pulling it all together have increased in value? If we moved our houses outside the beltway, would they be valued the same? No. The value of our “buildings” lie in the land they sit upon – brings to mind the oldest truism in the book concerning real estate – location, location, location.
Cites ‘Irony’ of Talking Housing in Richest County
The February 2, 2012 edition of the FCNP was ironic to say the least. The front page cover story was about President Obama bouncing and beaming into Falls Church to announce yet another program to help homeowners and do something about the foreclosure crisis that has worsened on his watch. Yet if one just flipped the page to Page 2 of the FCNP, there was an advertisement utilizing information from Forbes on “America’s Richest Counties.” This advertisement noted that if you were not advertising in the FCNP, then you are not “reaching the richest people in the country?”
Wow! I think these two pages of the FCNP says all anyone needs to understand about the current president. His other housing programs having failed, he now feels the need to come up with another a government program. And in an election year, he chose to go to the richest “counties” in the nation to announce it. Who can’t help but laugh at that?
It is without a doubt that President Obama’s time would have been much better spent in say Phoenix, Las Vegas or Florida where under his failed programs, the foreclosure crisis has deepened and left homeowners dismayed. But no, Barrack Obama is about show, is about elections and about giving his teleprompters a good workout. So it makes sense that for any new housing program he announces, this president would logically go to the richest community in the nation and announce it in front of one of the most politically aligned communities on his side. As they might say in Texas, that kind of talk is all hat and no cattle.
In a presidential campaign where ironies are being pointed out on a daily basis by the news media, it would be remiss to let this one pass without giving the president his ironic due.
No Statements On Why F.C. Should Keep System
I heartily concur with Charles Plymire’s letter to the editor in the Feb 2-8 edition of the FCNP, where he expresses the common sense opinion that it is time for the City to wake up, get over ourselves, and sell our water system. After reading numerous articles about the water system controversy during the past year, I am left scratching my head. In all of these articles I have not seen one clear statement that articulates the value we as residents of Falls Church City now derive from owning and operating our own water system vs. selling it to Farifax County’s water system and then purchasing the water from them. I have only read about risk, liability, law suits, and other wastes of time and money.
So let me be extremely clear: as a taxpayer and voter, I do NOT want our City wasting time and money that we do not have trying to hold on to a water system that does not provide us with any discernible benefit. Please just sit down with Fairfax County, work out a deal to sell our water system, and then get back to work focusing on something that actually matters to the citizens of Falls Church City. If this City Council won’t take needed action, I plan to vote for people who will in the next election.
Businesses Won’t Discriminate for Business Reasons
For weeks, the News-Press has warned about the dark future our commonwealth faces with the Republicans in charge in Richmond. And it’s finally come to pass: “Reversing the policy of recent years, a key committee in the Virginia State Senate killed a bill Monday to protect public employees from arbitrary discrimination,” the paper editorialized last week.
The News-Press worries successful businesses won’t come here anymore because they’ll no longer be prevented by law from discriminating “based on age, race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.” The newspaper clearly doesn’t think much of the businesses and educators it says it hopes to attract.
Can you possibly think successful business people set out to discriminate, and are only stopped from doing so by state laws? One can almost hear the cries from business leaders: “Stop me, lest I discriminate again!”
The truth is rather more sedate. Successful businesses don’t discriminate because it’s bad for business. They haven’t been discriminating for decades, and they won’t start now, regardless of state or federal law.
There’s good news in all this: If this meaningless discrimination measure is the worst thing the News-Press can find coming out of the new legislature, our commonwealth must be in great shape.
One suggestion before we go, though: Maybe the lawmakers could investigate why one party won 60 percent of the votes statewide, but only took half the seats in the Senate. Seems like a scandalous incident of Gerrymandering to me. I look forward to the News-Press editorial that supports a fair and balanced redistricting measure, one that allows the Senate to reflect the will of the voting public.
Letters to the Editor may be submitted to [email protected] or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.