Received my property tax bill this evening. Looking through the statement, I noticed that the Real Market Value (RMV) of the land decreased by $5700 and the RMV of the structures increased by $7710.
I found that interesting since I’ve put much more effort toward improving the land than I have toward improvements to the structures. Just a curiosity.
Taxes this year are only $22 more than what I paid last year. Costs do go up, and that’s only a 1% increase. I don’t mind paying taxes. They help pay for the services and resources that we as a community receive in return. Especially so for the children.
Looking over at the expense column, more than half of my property tax dollars goes toward helping people get educated. Can’t say that I have any problems with people getting educated. Hopefully, that education will help some of them improve the well-being of this country. Whether that be on a national level or being able to help others improve their lives.
Pay it forward.
Getting back to what really got my fingers hitting the keys… after I went through those thoughts, I turned my attention to the pink Property Tax Information sheet. What can I say, I’ve been trained as an engineer. I read the manuals. 🙂
Going over each bullet point, I started feeling uncomfortable. That feeling only got worse as I continued reading.
With the intensity of this year’s election’s insanity, and the knowledge gained, I’ve been prodded into speaking up.
I really don’t have much of an issue with what the Property Tax Information page actually says. It’s more about the way it’s worded. It comes across as another governmental agency making demands. Another agency that has no empathy for people who might be having a difficult time. Do it this way or we will make your life even more miserable.
I don’t believe that was the intent. In fact, I do think that I may understand the county’s perspective. Being forceful now might push someone considering putting off paying until they end up in foreclosure for back taxes and then having to deal with the loss of their home find a way to pay them now.
After spending time taking glimpses of the State of the Union from many sources lately, I have become concerned with how easy this country could erupt in violence. Much of that violence would be directed at a government that often to not be very caring about the people who it’s supposed to be caring for.
Documents worded like this Property Tax Information is don’t help ease that tension.
Some of that violence would also be directed at people that some might consider to be ‘others.’ Some might be carried out by those who have been treated unfairly for way too long.
Fortunately, most women know that violence is not the answer.
With all that in mind, I became uncomfortable with reading this document and propose some changes so it doesn’t come across so harshly.
I’d like feedback from those that read this. Suggestions of how to better word the Property Tax Information sheet so that people already agitated, don’t become more-so. So people in dire straits might have some semblance of hope that their government is looking out for them as best they can.
Also suggestions for any grammatical improvements.
Having just spent some time looking for this document online at the Hood River County Website, I have come to realize that the county could use some IT/web management help. This also became apparent to me, in the past few weeks, with the email notices I’ve received about jury duty that could be managed more efficiently. I’ll be working on that issue personally. Back to the issue at hand, I was unable to find the Property Tax Information document online within a time frame that didn’t cause me to give up, and I’ve been blessed with a lot of patience.
My suggested changes for improving this document:
Begin with having this document in Spanish as well as English.
I’ve also changed the order of some items to give more importance to those that gave me the impression that they were inserted as afterthoughts.
This is Important Information That Homeowners Should Read
If you have past due property taxes, or need assistance, you might qualify to receive help.
Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative (OHSI) has developed a Hardest Hit Fund program to assist property owners facing tax delinquency due to financial hardship. Visit www.oregonhomeownerhelp.org or call 503-986-2025 for more information.
Additional assistance might be available from the Records & Assessment Department (see contact information below).
- Paying your taxes as soon as possible will save you money.
- If you pay in full on November 15, 2016, you will receive a 3% discount. Payments need to be postmarked or delivered by 5pm to qualify.
- If you pay two-thirds of your tax bill by Nov 15, 2016, you will receive a 2% discount.
- If you choose to pay your property taxes in three monthly payments, those payments are due Nov 15, 2016, Feb 15, 2017, and May 15, 2017. No discount will be earned with this method, but neither will interest be added. [Original document is too wordy about if the dates fall on Saturdays or a holiday. Looking at the calendar to check will make it easier for those reading]
- For your information, all county offices will be closed in observance of Veterans Day, Friday Nov 11, 2016.
- The date on a bill payer check will count if payment is sent from your bank, financial institution or bill payer service.
- If you send a post-dated check, it will be processed immediately, regardless of the date posted. A processing fee of $30 will be added to your tax bill for any check that is returned by your bank for any reason.
- Checks are to be made payable to Hood River County and mailed to the address listed above. Please include the payment stub or a listing of the account numbers with payment amounts for each account to ensure accurate posting of your payments.
- Payments can be made by debit or credit cards online at www.co.hood-river.or.us or in person. An extra fee of 2.49% will be added to cover the fees for this convenience. Unfortunately, we cannot accept payment over the phone.
- The 2016-17 tax year runs from July 1st 2016 through June 30th 2017.
- Please call the Records & Assessments Dept at 541-386-4522 if you need to change your mailing address. [Original wording was too onerous.]
Hood River County Contact Information as per sheet.
Please let me know of any corrections or changes that you’d like to see by commenting below.