Hung out to dry

I wanted to remind all of the citizens that are in the flood zones and that were hung out to dry by The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, the deadline to appeal your property taxes, at least in Lycoming County, is September 1st. If you are in another county I would advise you to contact your county assessment office and find out the deadline. I urge everyone that was victimized by this criminal act to take the time, obtain a real estate appeal form, pay your $15.00 (yes, believe it or not, they charge you for this) and make sure you appeal your real estate taxes.

I have heard that anyone who appeals will see an automatic 20 percent reduction. While I find this hard to believe, I certainly hope it is true and think that most properties need to see a larger drop in value. Almost certainly the monstrous raise in flood insurance rates have caused a taint on our properties whose stench will never go away. The politicians cannot have it both ways; they cannot destroy property values on one hand and then expect people to continue to pay the same amount of taxes on a property that has drastically fallen in value on the other hand.

I am being told that there is a large amount of appeals in the county assessment office at this time, certainly more than in a normal year. My hope is that a large majority of residents in the county flood zones will file and receive a considerable reduction in their real estate tax contribution. At that point the lost revenue will need to be recovered from somewhere. This is where our “neighbors and fellow community members,” will come in.

Not all but certainly a large number of them were those who have said “It’s your fault you live in a flood zone, tough luck,” “not my problem” and maybe “So just move already!” Their increased real estate taxes will be needed. Maybe this will be a wakeup call to them. I doubt it but when the wallet grows thinner it causes people to sit up and take notice.

Jeff Smead


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom