Last week I got my property tax statements.
Yes, that’s “statements”, plural.
Before my wife and I purchased our little slice of heaven in Merriam, I bought a vacant, mostly wooded lot on the WyCo side of the county line. We thought we wanted to build, but we came to some realizations.
First, it would cost a lot more than an existing house. Second, every single person we know who has gone through building a house said it bordered on nightmarish. And HOLY CRAP were there a lot of existing houses for sale.
We ended up with a house we really like, and in retrospect there are even more reasons that building a contemporary home on that lot was better left to our imaginations.
Practically speaking, the lot wasn’t all that great. In the full foliage of summer, the highway noise emanating from the junction of interstates 35 and 635 was a bit muted and the bright lights of the public storage facility behind the lot were shaded from view. In the winter, not so much.
We would have had way too nice a house for the area. This is a commentary on the area, not a commentary on our lavish lifestyle and tastes.
And then…there are those property tax statements I mentioned.
The mill levy in Merriam – that’s the sum of all the taxing jurisdictions, including city, county, schools, JuCo, etc. – is 118.2210.
In the Turner School District (where the vacant lot is located), it’s 177.8620.
Bottom line? The tax rate is 50% higher there than in Merriam. (It trumps northern Overland Park by more than 70%).
To put it another way: a $150,000 house in KCK has roughly the same monthly payment as a $170,000 house in Merriam once you factor in the property taxes.
KCK is still fighting an uphill battle. The tax base has continued to erode in two ways, as people continue to move away (albeit more slowly than before), and their property values took much more severe hit than most areas during this downturn.
I feel for my hometown, but not as much as I did when I lived there.
I don't feel so great when "it's not my problem anymore" runs through my mind. It doesn't stop me from thinking it, though.