Thursday, May 27, 2004
Exercise in futility
We're appealing our property tax assessment. I'm not convinced we have any grounds for our appeal, but it's one of those "worth a shot" things. Unfortunately, by this morning I wasn't sure it really was worth the shot. It seems I neglected to read the paperwork until last night, because I am a property tax research goddess and why would *I* need to prepare??, and discovered I needed photos of my comparables. Not the on-line assessment photos, real ones. Funny, but photos are harder to take after the sun sets! And of course, one camera had no batteries, and the other was nearly out of film, and we are driving a dealership loaner right now and I'm wary of driving it to the land of bad drivers (i.e. Jewel). So, at the crack of dawn this morning I was out wandering the neighborhood, taking the pictures with the last of the film, hoping nobody was looking out their windows at the well-dressed stalker with wet hair. I went downtown, dropped the film at the 1-hour photo, wandered around bored for an hour, got the pictures, huddled in a corner of Border's and put together my evidence, wandered around bored for another hour, and finally went to my appointment.
I had "I Love Rock and Roll" stuck in my head at the time, thanks to Marshall Field's. Lucky, lucky bintie.
The hearing wasn't quite like I expected. The waiting room was filled with an interesting cross-section of county homeowners, some well-dressed lawyers and lots of little old ladies. When I was finally called, I went to a counter and met a nice man named Dan, who walked me through the process. He clearly had a script he had to follow - he more than once resummarized the things I'd handed him, and then asked "Do you have any other evidence you would like to present to the Board?" He made no judgments, had no opinions, and just *looked* at me during my verbal explanations, then explained that he would hand off my evidence to the analysts and we'll see what happens. Next time (ugh), I will remember: anything I want to say, I have to put it in writing. I don't get to talk to the person who does the analysis. Live and learn.
I left feeling oddly disappointed. I'd pictured myself making these impassioned and well-reasoned pleas, with interactive maps and pie charts, before a skeptical-but-then-convinced Board. Think Jimmy Stewart with frizzy hair.
And speaking of frizzy hair... I stopped at Marshall Field's to kill some time, and bought a strange but cute hat. People with hair like mine need all the hats they can get.