Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Deep Breath In.... Deep Breath Out...

Repeat as many times as it takes to come down from panic mode.

I've been breathing deeply for almost an hour now and I'm still oh so close to panic mode. "What's up?" you ask.

Two things...

I called our mortgage company today (Wells Fargo) to have an escrow assessment done. That's where they figure out how much money you need to put into your escrow account to pay taxes and insurance.

Last year, our payment went up about $100 or so. I wasn't expecting it, but it wasn't the end of the world. W.F. told me at that point to call back in May 09 to have them do another escrow analysis and my payment would probably go down.

Given that property values have dropped, I fully expected a lower payment when I called today.

What I did not expect was to be told that our payment is rising $350 a month!!!

Yup, you read correctly. The very nice rep told me that it sounded like a mistake and to call the tax assessor and figure it out.

Mistake? Nope. Apparently not. You see, when you live in the house you own, you are homesteading. And as a homesteader, you do not pay certain taxes. When you no longer homestead there, but still own, the city feels they have the right to jack your tax rates up significantly.

They raised our taxes a full 50%! Now instead of $4000/yr., we're paying $6,000! And here's the kicker... They've added that extra tax under the Rochester School District operating fund. I've checked around at other properties' taxes and they pay nothing for this fund. I, because I no longer live there and no longer have children even attending the district, have to pay a freaking $2000 a year!


Remember how I said there were two things I was panicking about? Here's the second...

I had to go into the office this morning, so I missed the postlady bringing me a certified letter. She left the obligatory peach-colored notice with the sender's name on it. "SD Dept. of Rev." Took both me and Scott a few minutes to figure that one out. San Diego Department of Revenue.

What on earth do they want with me?????

The only even remotely feasible thing we can think of is that a couple years ago, I sold some stock. I had lost track of the shares for a while and the State of CA contacted me since they had taken possession of it. Joy of joys, over the years I'd forgotten about it, the stock split and it was now worth $16,000!!!

As far as I know, everything was done properly on my end. CA lost the paperwork for a while so it took much longer than it should have to get the stocks to me. But eventually they did and I immediately sold them. (Heehee! Good thing I did, huh?)

Does this mysterious letter have anything to do with that? Am I going to have to pay money back? Or do they owe me money? (Wouldn't that be nice?) Maybe they have the wrong Kate D____.

And if it was really serious or somehow related to the stock thing, they'd use Kathryn instead of Kate, right? Or maybe the postlady, knowing I go by Kate, just put that down on the note instead of the Kathryn it says on the label.

I don't know. It could be anything. And I'm just going to have to wait till 9am tmro morning to find out what. That's when I can retrieve the "certified mail" from the post office.

Now combine those worries with the fact that our MI house seems to need some significant work done... I think I need to throw up.

Xanax, anyone?


ddstacer said...

Kate, if it makes you feel better (probably won't) I will throw up for you right on the front lawn of the City Building. That is just wrong!! How in the world can they justify that! Isn't it criminal or something? How about an appeal?

If you want, I'll even go and throw up on your MI house front lawn for you while I'm at it. That wouldn't help either, I know. It would give the neighborhood something to talk about though.:-)

What kind of "significant" work needs to be done to the house? I hope you have a professional opinion (I'm sure you do) on this and you're not just taking somebody's word for it.

If I could fix it, I would.

Mandajuice said...

My Xanax Rx is still half-full, I'm happy to share!