Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wrap Your Head Around This!

I almost had a cow this morning when I saw this picture (click to the third one in the series) in the Times-Picayune this morning and read the following caption that went along with it:

Wanda Nazaretian, right, tells her woes to Lori Pichon about her 1400 percent increase in property assessments. Her home increased from $79000 to $1.19 million.
I'm still dumbfounded and rendered mute when I read this. Where do I start with it? First, am I supposed to be sympathetic to Wanda Nazaretian because her assessment went up so much? Am I supposed to feel for her that she had to wait in line with the rest of the "hoi polloi" at City Hall to protest her re-assessment?

Either we have some very incompetent assessors, or a very gargantuan mistake was made, or Wanda Nazaretian has some nerve complaining about having to finally pay taxes for her $1.19 million home.

I noticed that the caption didn't provide a specific address. And when I did a search of the Orleans Parish Board of Assessors Records, there was nothing listed under the name of Nazaretian. Makes you wonder doesn't it?

Well, I think it could be true that Wanda Nazaretian's home is overassessed. Maybe it is worth $1 million instead of $1.19 million. Who knows? But I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that it is worth much, much more than the $79,000 at which it was previously assessed. I stand astounded at the gall of someone who, with the homestead exemption, has been paying literally almost nothing in property taxes for who knows how long, and then "tells her woes" about her "situation" as she pines away in line at City Hall. Let me tell you, Wanda Nazaretian does not elicit any sympathy from me.

It makes me sick.


Anonymous said...

There are going to be mistakes made, for sure. The Nazaretian's certainly could be one of them. But I have to wonder how many of those in line are complaining about how "unfair" it is that their free ride is coming to an end, a free ride that has been born on the back of recent home buyers for years.

And for the record, my assessment went up in the neighborhood of 200%. Unfair? Hardly, I am one of those who was essentially paying jack for by virtue of a low sale price a decade ago.

Huck said...

Thanks for the comment, Celsus. My wife and I were discussing this last night, and also discussing all our friends and acquaintances who have seen pretty significant jumps in their assessments. None of them are waiting in line to protest because they know the jig is up and they are fine with that. We came to the conclusion that what really bothered us about Nazaretian was that she has likely had such a free ride for so long that sitting in line to complain came across as very unseemly.

My home assessment went up just slightly this year compared to pre-Katrina assessments; but then we were properly assessed when we bought the house some 5 years ago.

Nazaretian's situation had me wondering and so I checked with the OPBOA on my neighbors houses and all seem to be in order except one of my neighbors who still appears to be grossly underassessed (to the tune that his house, recently renovated since Katrina, is assessed as only worth $5,000 for the 2008 tax year). Now, his home is small and quaint, but just the roof alone is probably worth $5,000! Proof that even the current assessments are still inequitable.)