Looseleaf Laureate: Doing a little reassessing of my own

-A A +A
By Terri Likens, Editor

Life can be humbling.
I’d been in “a mood” since late last week, when I received a notice from the property assessor’s office increasing the assessed value of my modest — at best — 1950s ranch house by more than $20,000.
They said the house I paid about $94,000 less than a decade ago was now worth nearly $145,000.
You’d howl about this if you could see my house.
This was the second increase I’d had in two years – and that’s since the increase in the big five-year revaluation in 2010 that got us all up in arms.
I grudgingly accepted last year’s increase of a few thousand dollars because I just wasn’t sure it was worth the fight.
The recent change, however, was unthinkable. I consulted neighbors in similar but more well-maintained homes that were assessed much lower.
They said they weren’t getting these annual increases, either.
And so I have decided to challenge the assessment.
But at its heart, this column isn’t about what the tax man, so to speak, thinks my house is worth.
The notice from the property assessor’s office reminded me of the roof that sorely needs replacing, the central air unit that is on its last legs, the exterior paint that is peeling above the living room windows, and of many other maintenance items I need to tackle — inside and out — on a newspaperwoman’s limited budget.
For a few days, my house started looking like the enemy to me.
And then the scenes started rolling in from the storms in Oklahoma.
Scenes of solid-built houses reduced to rubble.
Scenes of dazed people standing in the midst of what looked like an explosion.
Scenes of people who have lost just about everything — including loved ones.
You have, no doubt, seen pictures of the heartbreak — some of us through tear-blurred eyes.
Suddenly, my peeling paint didn’t seem as bad.
My sagging roof felt a little sturdier.
I felt more grateful for the security of my basement, even if it is its own little time warp to the 1950s.
As for the county’s reassessment, I have been to the courthouse and expect to learn next week whether I need to make my challenge formal.
But in the wake of the tornadoes in the Midwest, I have done a little reassessing of my own.
My conclusion? It’s just good to have a roof over my head.