The prospect of having a property appraiser knocking on our doors, we imagine, would go over about as well as an impromptu visit from our in-laws. Both are uninvited. Both cause stress. And, likely, both situations have little thought invested in you, specifically. Instead, it’s addressing a personal need. Their want to come visit. You can go back downstairs to watch baseball. Just hope that appraiser has your “man cave” in thier records, or you may have to pair down on the amount of television packages you usually buy.
That’s roughly the scenario Bethlehem residents are facing this year, and the following four years. Just a few short years after a town-wide reassessment, the town board approved a request by its assessor that will have a team of appraisers to go door-to-door and confirm its books. Does the town have your information correct? The right number of bedrooms. The right number of bathrooms. How about that square-footage? You know why this information is important. After all, it’s the same information that drove you to buy your house in the first place. It’s the same metrics you used to compare different houses with your real estate agent, and how it ultimately drove the bottom line: your asking price.
So, that’s what won’t sit well with residents, this talk of money. The reassessment was only two years ago. Through that process, surveys were already distributed, asking the same information, and some were returned. Some were not, and that’s where the town wants to pick up where they left off. But, in the public’s eye — in the homeowner’s eye — it comes off as another reassessment.
The timing stinks. No. There is never a good time for a stranger to walk up to our doorsteps to talk money. And, with the reassessment still fresh in the minds of town residents, this smacks as an insult. You should have done this a few years ago. But, who is to say the town will receive any more success than from those surveys? Just as with the unreturned surveys, the town’s only recourse is to estimate your property value if you choose not to allow the appraiser in your home. Call it what you will, this is another reassessment. The town needs to cut it out.
We love our in-laws, and they are always welcome in our homes. The taxman, however, is not.