Residents get help with AVI impact

City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill dis­cusses the Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive at Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHO­TOS

Mi­chael Wauhop last week got some good news about his prop­erty taxes.

“They told me it would go down,” the Mor­rell Park res­id­ent said. “But I don’t be­lieve it.”

Wauhop was among about 200 North­east res­id­ents who at­ten­ded a March 14 city in­form­a­tion ses­sion on prop­erty re­as­sess­ments that was held at Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School.

City staffers gave in­di­vidu­al at­ten­tion to each res­id­ent, ex­amin­ing the re­as­sess­ment no­tices they re­cently re­ceived and giv­ing them in­form­a­tion about seek­ing re­views or types of tax re­lief.

They also es­tim­ated what homeown­ers will pay in 2014 taxes if City Coun­cil ap­proves May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter’s sug­ges­ted 1.3204 per­cent tax rate and a $15,000 homestead ex­emp­tion. 

The ex­emp­tion is first sub­trac­ted from the prop­erty’s new as­sess­ment, and that lower num­ber is mul­ti­plied by the tax rate. For ex­ample, the own­er of a house as­sessed at $115,000 could sub­tract $15,000 and get a new prop­erty value of $100,000. Then he would mul­tiply that fig­ure by 0.013204, res­ult­ing in a tax of $1,320.40 in prop­erty taxes.

As he left Ry­an, Wauhop said he simply re­fused to ac­cept that his taxes would go down.

When asked why, he re­spon­ded, “His­tory! My taxes have gone up three of the last four years.”

He said he is now pay­ing about $2,000 an­nu­ally on his one-story, two-bed­room house. In 2010, his taxes were about $300 lower.

“Demo­crats have nev­er seen a tax in­crease they didn’t like,” he said. “I’m already look­ing at real es­tate out­side the city. I’m fed up with tax in­creases.”

Joseph A. McIvor of the 12600 block of Med­ford Road in Park­wood said the city staffers who talked to him at the Ry­an ses­sion were po­lite and help­ful. He was happy that it looks as if his taxes will de­crease if City Coun­cil ap­proves the may­or’s sug­ges­ted tax rate.

McIvor said he also has seen a few years of tax hikes. He’s lived in his home for 46 years and can re­call pay­ing a total of $1,200 an­nu­ally — for prin­cip­al and in­terest on his mort­gage as well as in taxes. His taxes alone now are more than $2,200 a year, he said. In 2010, they were just a bit high­er than $1,900.

People are talk­ing, he said, about be­ing priced out of their homes. “They’re think­ing about mov­ing to re­tire­ment homes or in with re­l­at­ives,” he said.

Pat and Richard Stevens, of Vin­ton Road in Park­wood, however, didn’t think much of the ses­sion.

“They’re just try­ing to make you feel good,” Pat Stevens said. ••

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