The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


January 22, 2013

Letter: Reassessment increases questioned

Free speech relies on liberty. Liberty relies on democracy. Democracy relies on open elections. We have seen in the last election across the country where politicians erected barriers to the election process. For example, some polling sites had waits of two, four and six hours while others had five- or 10-minute waits.

Now in Madison County a new threat to elections may be happening. It is a post-election threat. One that uses the last election cycle to influence the next election cycle. People who had yard signs supporting Democratic candidates may be seeing unusually high property assessments.

A quick perusal of the county’s website seems to show most homeowners seeing an actual reduction in assessment. Many have moderate increases of 2 or 3 percent. But what about yard sign properties with an increase of 6 percent? What about a property that had no improvements in 10 years having an increase of 18 percent? And I have heard of increases of 100 to 200 percent. Of course, you can appeal these increases with the same people who raised them.

My survey is small and sometimes anecdotal, but is this merely coincidence? If just one case of retribution is true, it is still wrong and we need to know about it. Perhaps the assessor would like to address this issue. Perhaps the other homeowners could tell about their reassessment increases. Perhaps the best way to defend fairness and democracy is to have long memories when we return to the polls.

Joe Carney


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