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New assessment time!
Old 03-09-2004, 11:33 AM   #1
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New assessment time!

Brief background and what I think is a no-brainer question, but thought I'd throw it out here.

The area I live in is unincorporated county land serviced by water from wells. Due to septic tanks and all the agricultural fertilizers, nitrates from these products have seeped into the water supply. Nothing harmful and within state guidelines but cautions for infants and pregnant women.

Recently the state announced that they would be tightening the water quality requirements, which would require that our water be treated to meet the new standards.

The nearest major city quickly bought up the water utility, and extended to the 4000 or so residents a couple of plans. First was treatment of the existing water at about an $8k cost per home, plus additional regular costs. Second was hooking us up to the cities clean water supply at a cost of about $5k, but this includes a new water meter and a metered bill that should average about $30 a month. Previously our water bills were unlimited $17 a month. Unfortunately the cheaper option mandates that we are annexed by the city and become part of the city proper. I dont know where they get the $8k number, I can install a whole house water conditioning system for a fourth to half that amount. Must be govt overhead.

In other words, it was a well timed land grab that will pay off nicely for the city...we pay for the water conversion in total, start paying them higher bills, and they get our property taxes from here on out. I'm uncertain about what other real benefits this entails.

As for me, I've just been filling up 5 gallon jugs of water at a friends house a few miles away that is in a clean water area and dropping those into a water cooler. Free. But since the state cant account for morons who drink the 'bad' water, its a requisite that every home see every drop of tap water within guidelines.

Ok, so not so brief, what do you expect?

The question is, I can pay the assessment as a $4742 one time lump sum, or about $314 a year for 20 years. Clearly paying it off up front saves about $1500 and makes the property marginally more attractive to a future buyer because it doesnt have the assessment.

My take is that since statistically I'll move within 7 years, I can avoid half the payments by taking the annual assessment, and further could make more money investing the proceeds myself, plus the extra buyer incentive is probably a red herring, I doubt anyone would buy my house over another or be more likely to buy mine based on this.

Its not all bad though, I got the house for $13k under market value due to this little "problem"...

There is also a little 'conspiracy theory' around this...the work to hook us up to the city water isnt supposed to happen until after the annexation takes place, and if everything goes to plan its complete in october of this year. But while the annexation hasnt been agreed to, I tested my water last week and the nitrates were half their former level, and testing today showed zero. So either they already hooked us up and it was pretty easy and they're sure of the annexation, or maybe the water supply just magically cleaned itself up...
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Re: New assessment time!
Old 03-09-2004, 12:42 PM   #2
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Re: New assessment time!

Technically - we live in the only officially zoned slum in New Orleans (unimproved urban?). Costs about $15 per camp tossed into a hat every year for a lawyer to keep the city from 'improving us' - a losing battle thats 20 yrs old - in the end we'll lose - but its worth the fight.
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Re: New assessment time!
Old 03-09-2004, 12:52 PM   #3
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Re: New assessment time!

Thats about right, I'm told the big benefit is that we'll have city cops patrolling the neighborhood instead of the sheriff. If we didnt have two of the sheriffs deputies living in the subdivision, that might almost seem like a useful thing.

Like your aerospace situation, the local farms and fertilizer producers claim the nitrates are not their doing, but rather its OUR septic tanks. Mmm hmmm. :

Besides my friends free "good" water, all the supermarkets around here have a filtration machine that you can fill bottles with at 30c a gallon. Its filtered, reverse osmosis'd, and UV'd. Stuff has little taste though after the minerals are remove by the RO process. I also buy bottled water at costco and sams club for pretty good prices. 35 sports bottles of RO'd water thats had minerals added back in runs a little over five bucks. There are also crazy water deals at the office supply stores (staples, officemax, office depot) a few times a year. I find those at Fatwallet.com. You get something like 8 cases of water deliverer for just a couple of bucks a case after applying coupons and exploiting multi case buying deals. Same with soda, I was buying 12 packs of pepsi products for $2 each delivered, but they stopped selling those on the web site because they apparently couldnt figure out how to do it without being creamed by the coupon people.

I also bought my own distiller from Sears and occasionally distill a few gallons...that only costs about 10c a gallon but it takes a few hours to do it.
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Re: New assessment time!
Old 03-09-2004, 01:29 PM   #4
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Re: New assessment time!

TH,

When I was a boy growing up in North Texas most of
the water supply was contaminated by salt water
spills from oil well drilling. The water was so hard
that you could not make suds. We survived by
buying drinking water trucked in. Regulation improvement and new reservoirs have mostly
solved the problem now days. In the 50's North
Texas got their act together and created a series
of lakes designed to provide enough water for 7
years of drought. The huge population growth
in our area was largely due to a reliable water
supply (and no state income tax, I think) that
brought in major industry. We are now running
out of water again and need to build more lakes.

IMHO, a good water supply is critical. The only
downside is that it will bring in more DAMN YANKEES!
Just kidding, of course ....... some of my best friends, etc.

I know this does not help your problem. It looks
like you have to pay either way, so pay you money
and take your choice.

Regards,

Charlie
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Re: New assessment time!
Old 03-09-2004, 01:32 PM   #5
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Re: New assessment time!

This is starting to sound like our "we were clinging to the windowsills because we couldnt afford floors, and walked 4 miles to school, uphill, both ways" conversation of several months ago.
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Re: New assessment time!
Old 03-09-2004, 01:36 PM   #6
 
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Re: New assessment time!

Before I remarried in 2001, I lived in a bachelor pad in the country. Small apartment, but right on the water
and just right for a single guy and his dog. Anyway, I
noticed that periodically the drain was clogged with black
goo. Soooooooooooo, I always drank bottled water.
Once, when I was out of water, I made pancakes with pickle juice. They were just awful, but I ate them
anyway. Now, we live about 10 miles upstream.
The water is fabulous here. Best I ever tasted.
No kidding!

John Galt
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Re: New assessment time!
Old 03-09-2004, 01:53 PM   #7
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Re: New assessment time!

TH,

Speaking of windowsills, it was so hot at night when
I was growing up that I slept on one to catch any
stray breeze. My brother and I sometimes resorted
to soaking the sheets with water.

Next to a good water supply, air conditioning did
more for Texas than anything else.

Regards,

Charlie
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