My humble apologies to “The Clash” but I immediately thought of this tune today. Sing along with me!
I Fought the Law and I Won
Drove to the hearing facing the sun I fought the law and I won (x2) Getting up the nerve was no fun I fought the law and I won (x2)
I faced the tax board feeling good Guess my karma’s intact They were friendly and understood I fought the law and I won (x2)
I was ready with all my facts I fought the law and I won (x2) I won my case and lowered my tax I fought the law and I won (x2)
Today was T Day…the day to face the appraisal board. I had decided on the last possible day to protest my property taxes this year. With so many people ahead of me in line, I waited for almost three months for today’s date. Almost everyone in the county was making an appointment. I will say I do not mind paying my fair share of taxes. I’m not one who is out just to take advantage of the rest of the population. Our county is really hurting in this recession, but I’m afraid raising my taxes every year is not going to help. Perhaps if I were still gainfully employed, I would not have said anything. After all, I would have loved to have sold my house for what they said it was worth.
The taxing authority had said my house’s value had increased 44% in five years. My taxes had risen 55% or 11% a year since 2004. I just took it and didn’t complain until this year. I finally said, “Enough already!” “Uncle!” “Uncle!” “Ouch!”
Now in case you are not familiar with me yet, I HATE conflict. I have always been a peacekeeper which sometimes translated into wipe your feet on the doormat on my back before you enter my life. I can’t stand confrontation. You’d think that was probably a result of a lot of conflict in my childhood, but the opposite was true, except for one time when I stood up to my father and he slapped me across the face for sassing him (can’t remember what I said), nobody ever confronted anybody. Maybe I feel this way because I never had any practice standing up for myself.
I stood up for myself today. I used to tell the kids in my class that they never wanted to make me mad. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m mad,” as the Hulk used to say. I was not mad this time. I just felt I was justified in my actions. If someone challenges me or I feel something is unjust I will rise to the cause.
We were supposed to have five copies of everything besides the original (what the “original” was I never quite understood). In my packet, I had a letter addressing the board. I had the number of showings for my house and the comments about how much updating would have to be done. I had internet information. Over 6,000 people looked at my house on the net. I had pictures. I told them about the eight families that showed up for two open houses. I had comparables, which is really hard because once people find my particular area of town they are not in a hurry to leave voluntarily. I’ve lost five couples among my neighbors in the thirty two years I’ve lived here. Four of the couples died from age related causes…that happens when you are in your eighties or older. The fifth just sold to a relative because it looks like he will shortly be taking that path out himself. There’s just not a big turnover in our neighborhood.
I’m a very laid-back non-chalant type person. I don’t not show emotion on purpose like I control it or something. It just kind of happens that way. I’ve always taken things as they come. Since I went to bed close to midnight last night I was gifted with not awakening until 8:00 a.m. That’s a rarity for me. I’m usually wide awake by 4 or I’m awake at 10, 12, 2, 4, 6…you get the picture. Getting up at eight meant I had five hours until my hearing.
I got up and finished putting tabs on all my paper work for the five copies. I made sure everything was in order. I even made up a table of contents. I was “gunning” for positive action. I finally told myself I was as ready as I would ever be.
The hearing was on the far northeast section of the county, about fifteen miles from my house. The directions from the internet said it would take about 23 minutes to get there. I left my house at 12:20 and did just fine on the express way until I realized I missed an exit. Fortunately, before I had a chance to panic, (dire warnings were issued about being late to a hearing), I saw a sign that said the exit for the exact road I needed. Why google wanted me to go round the strawberry patch to get there was beyond me when this was a straight shot south, I couldn’t figure out. Actually, it only took me fifteen minutes since the traffic was light. I was there ten minutes before my appointed time of 1 o’clock.
Everybody was just coming back from lunch. They were standing around talking, going to the bathroom, etc. There are times when I really appreciate punctuality. This was one of them. I wanted to display my irritation but thought better of it. I didn’t know which panel would be in my room. Rule #1…don’t hack off the tax man (or woman). Three people who had entered the waiting room were called before me. I hate when that happens. Finally at 1:10 my name was called. I was told I would be allowed twenty minutes to present my case, the county would present theirs, and I could rebut. Right before I was to begin my cell phone rang. Now there are very few people who have access to my number. I use that phone as little as possible. I didn’t recognize the number so I thought I turned it off. Two minutes later it rang again. This time I was successful in turning the thing off. The meeting proceded. They asked me how much I thought my house was worth. I felt like telling them the 2004 price because that’s the last time my house was upgraded, but I didn’t think they’d buy it. I lowballed as much as I thought I could, allowing for inflation, and pulled out a figure. I’m hoping to get the price they thought it was worth with adjustments (not the original tax value) but that’s not the number I told them. They agreed. It was over.
I was dancing back out to the car by 1:30. The song, “I fought the law” popped into my head. Once in my car, out of anyone’s earshot, I started singing it. “I fought the law, and I WON! I fought the law, and I WON! It made me feel really good!
I was back home by 2 o’clock. I took out my cell phone and called that number back. Would you believe it was a wrong number? Somebody somewhere was just trying to unnerve me. It didn’t happen. My karma went my way today! It’s been a good day. Scratch one up for the little guy! Now if my real estate agent would just call with a great offer…..it would really make my day. Y’all have a good day too, ya hear? Namaste Attic Annie