Open Letter to all Beach Area Property Owners
It is not too early to protest your upcoming tax bill that will undoubtedly not reflect the current property value of your home.
Recent sales of existing properties on our beach now have selling prices of less than half of their peak levels over the last two or three years. The taxing authorities were quick to take advantage of the steep increases in these values, but have been less aggressive in adjusting downward for the precipitous drop in these values.
The hardest hit by this situation, of course, are non-resident owners who enjoy no Homestead Exemption. The current tax levels on beach properties are probably 50 percent high based on current market value of these homes. You can be assured your reduction in assessments this year will not fairly reflect the decreased home values unless you protest vigorously as an organized group.
Consider that for each $100,000 drop in your home value your tax rates should decrease by approximately $2,000. Homes that at peak were selling for $500,000 now are selling for less than half that amount which should reflect a corresponding drop in taxes. I doubt you will see that without a major organized protest. Those of you feeling smug about the recent increase in Homestead Exemptions, remember, that only amounts to a few hundred dollars net in your pocket; a pittance when compared to the effects of the property value declines. If you think the increase in the Homestead Exemption will negatively impact municipal services, wait until you see this impact a just tax correction will have.
Obviously the implications of this situation are far-reaching and require a fair distribution of the tax monies which is not the case today.
The first step in addressing this issue should be a town meeting for all concerned taxpayers as early as possible to explore legal avenues of protest as well as considering service dilemmas.
I am very interested in being part of any such organization effort and welcome inputs.
- Bill Smith, President, Marina House Condo Assoc., e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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