I recived this email reprinted below last night. Today, I recieved my "Notice to Taxpayers of Assessment change". My 2007 Fair Market value has been raised by $46,000.00. We have spent not one dime on improvements on or in this property in the last 10 or more years except replacing a worn out roof. More on the assessed valuation on my house later. I will pick up paperwork to file a protest tomorrow.
As a proerty owner and taxpayer and a Peoria County Board member, I encourage anyone who feels their new assessments are out of line to immediately gather your facts including photographs, documentation of all improvements, documentation of needs for improvements such as new fences, driveways, ect. and extimated costs of everything you would have to improve before you believe you would get anywhere near the Fair Market Value of your property. Document every reason you feel that your taxes are out of line. Be sure to get asking prices and sales prices of all properties sold or for sale in your immediate neghborhood. Contact your neighborhood assosication for information about other property holders that are as dismayed as I am about someones $46,000 illusion that my property is anywhere near the amount shown as Fair Market Value. Get the paperwork and set an appointment for a hearing with the appeals board by calling 672-6022.
One City Councilman suggested my email "friend" from St. Louis move into his neighborhood where he has many amenities within walking distance, an 1100 square foot living space on a 9000 square foot lot. He paid $280.00 property taxes last year.
Here is the letter with the name of the writer from St. Louis with his name deleted as per his request:
"Dear Mr. Widmer,
My wife and I will be moving to Peoria early next month for a new job opportunity. Last weekend we made our first house-hunting trip to Peoria. Needless to say, we were absolutely appalled when we learned that property taxes were roughly three times what we pay for our home near Clayton, which is an affluent area on the outskirts of St. Louis. Although admittedly I am not very familiar with Peoria yet, I certainly have not seen anything to begin to justify these outrageous taxes. The area where we currently live offers incredible amenities, a beautiful city, and a highly desired school system for a fraction of the property taxes. Not long ago we lived in Tennessee and paid less than a sixth of Peoria-rate property taxes (and no state income tax to boot), so we actually thought our current Clayton-area property taxes were high.
Driving home, my wife was very disheartened and we decided that we are going to rent, for now at least, rather than purchase a new home. Frankly, we can rent a nice apartment for just a little more than what we would have to pay in property taxes on a new home. In other cities we always felt like we were building equity with our house payments despite other expenses that come along with a house (taxes, interest, upkeep, etc.). With Peoria's tax rates on top of the other non-equity-building-expenses common to purchases anywhere, we feel like we would just be throwing away too much money for buying a house to make sense right now.
Since our trip I have been perplexed by Peoria's tax rates, but today I stumbled across your blog. Reading through several of your posts explained a lot. I appreciate the information you provide in your blog, as well as your fight to lift the burden on tax payers. Why people would continue to elect officials into office that take so much money out of their wallets is beyond me.
I noticed you mentioned you have been labeled as anti-growth because of your stance on taxes and spending. For what it is worth, if I did not have an incredible job opportunity in Peoria, I would never choose to live there because of the taxes. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the absurd tax rates tipped the scale against us buying property for the time being. I image than many young professionals would feel similar. So, at least from my perspective, if anyone is stifling growth in the community it is the proponents of taxing and spending.
If by chance you share this with anyone, please do so anonymously. I would prefer not to burn any bridges before I even get to town (there will be plenty of time for that later). Keep fighting the good fight.