Resident wonders who really owns his house?
Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 20, 2004
Editor, the News-Herald:
I built a house and moved to Suffolk in 1977 with retirement in mind. My first year real estate tax amounted to $629.65. At that time I received no city services such as water, sewage, etc., except garbage pick-up once a week. I had no children in Suffolk schools. Upon retirement, six years later, real estate tax had increased to $843.84.
I just received my latest and greatest annual notice change of assessed values for fiscal year ending June 30, 2005. This change increased land value 70 percent and my 27-year-old house by 18 percent. This assessment will increase my real estate tax $933.12 for a total of $3,046.68. Still, no city service except garbage pick-up once a week. Since I retired, my real estate tax has increased $2,202.84 as compared to my civil service annuity increase of $1,396. Tax increases exceed my annuity increases by $806.84.
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A recent article in The Virginian-Pilot described the beach officials as &uot;cute&uot; when talking taxes. I see Suffolk’s officials as tax-and-spend politicians that are unwilling to rein in spending and hiring. Why should the City Council reduce spending when they have unchecked power to raise real estate taxes that provides an unlimited supply of money?
When I step back and look at my situation, I wonder who really owns this property – me or the city? It appears that the City of Suffolk owns my property that I paid for and is charging me a usage fee of $254 per month. There’s got to be a fairer way to redistribute income. A special tax rate for retired and senior citizens and a special tax rate for parents of children who have benefited from Suffolk’s expensive schools would be a good start. What irritates me is the &uot;city spin&uot; – since the tax rate will remain the same, homeowners will pay on average 10 percent more in taxes. My God, give me a break!
William M. Smith