Monday, July 09, 2007

Forced Out Of Her Home By Higher Taxes

This is a story you're going to be hearing more and more every day. Judith Sturgess, a retired Indianapolis homeowner, learned her property tax bill doubled. It now exceeds her annual social security payments. She's put her house up for sale, and is asking for a loan from her son in Atlanta to pay the taxes in the meantime. She tells WISH-TV's Deanna Dewbury:

"I want to rent. So if they raise the rent I can get out. I can move. I can't move from here. I'm stuck," she said.

Stuck because her property taxes have increased again, and this year they have almost doubled.

"This exceeds my social security income," she said. "It's very stressful. I have a lot of anxiety over it. I don't want to depend on somebody else. I don't want to ask for help."

"I have to borrow it from my son who lives in Atlanta. He's going to have to help me. Could I get a job at my age someplace in the next two days?"

26 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

A chilling anecdote but what are the numbers? How much does she get in Social Security? What other income was she also planning living on? What are her property taxes this year? What is the assessed value of her home? Did she take all the exemptions she's entitled to?

What are the numbers?

Advance Indiana said...

Chances are she doesn't receive a second government paycheck like you receive for your years of nonproductivity as a political hack for the Center Township Trustee's office. The bottom line is she bought a house. She raised a family in that house. She paid off the mortgage. She can't afford to live in that house. Only a sick, demented political hack like you would seek to lay the blame at her doorstep. By the way, why is Julia Carson's home so grossly under-assessed. If she had any class, she would call up Akers and tell him a made a horrible mistake and he needs to correct her grossly under-assessed property. I'm betting she won't.

Wilson46201 said...

But the reality is you dont really know the facts of this chilling tale. You are just wildly making stuff up and attacking fiercely those who might be seeking the truth.

We need more facts in this tax debacle in Indiana. Cheap sloganeering like BART LIES and quick personal attacks on commenters dont contribute to political clarity...

Advance Indiana said...

I know all I need to know. The lady has lived in the house over 25 years. Her taxes doubled this year. This is a common phenomenon in the tax and spend land of Marion County ruled by Democrats. No such comparable tax increases ever occurred during the decades Republicans ran the city.

Anonymous said...

Come on Wilson. when will you democraps quit screwing the citizens of this county.

Here is something to think about. there are 4 ccc members who are indianapolis firefighters. one wife of a retired firefighter. 2 IMPD officers. The pending contracts with the city will only be honored if this tax increase passes.
Now 7 of the council members have a direct interest in seeing that this tax package passes because they will all get a 12 percent raise over the next 4 years. should not them voting on the tax increase be a conflict of interest?
i say we protest and demand that they abstain from voting the tax increase..........

this is not bill brown

Wilson46201 said...

I saw the Judith Sturges story on TV - very nice house indeed! Googling shows she lives in the Golden Hill neighborhood: the "toniest" enclave in Center Township...

Wilson46201 said...

I checked the numbers: that house is assessed at $338,900 which will result in an approx. $12,000 tax bill.

Anonymous said...

I hate to admit it, but...Wilson may be partially right.

Golden Hill is an exclusive enclave. The Chief Justice lives there. Homes are not cheap.

This is not a small cottage somewhere. The hosue is worth far more than she can evidently afford. I'm sympathetic, but not as much as I was before I knew the location.

She had more income when she worked and, I'm guessing had her husband's income, too. The house has become too expensive, sadly. And not just because of taxes.

I'm guessing utility bills and annual upkeep are choking her, if this social-security-widow story is fully true.

I understand your points, Gary, and completely agree with most. But this is not the poster child case for the anti-tax folks. I strongly suspect there are many out there that fit the tagline much better.

Lazy press went after this story without checking all the facts.

Advance Indiana said...

Don't confuse Sturgess' home for the mansion Center Township Constable Tony Duncan just built with his taxpayer-financed job. And Wilson, are you going to look into the problem of Ms. Carson's home being so grossly under-assessed. Mr. Akers wouldn't be playing favorites with the woman who got him his job as Center Township Assessor would he?

Advance Indiana said...

And isn't it interesting that Mr. Carl Drummer's home at 3563 Central is assessed at only $164,800. I spoke to a realtor who is quite familiar with the neighborhood. He tells me Drummer's home has a fair market value of $250,000.

Anonymous said...

So, Wilson, it's OK for her to get forced out of her home, since it's so nice, and she should live somewhere more modest? Is that what you're implying?

Anonymous said...

itodcUnderneath his property tax brouhaha is another discussion which needed to be undertaken for decades.

Some families do talk it over, but most don't. It's very sensitive and belongs in closed family quarters, not in the public policy arena.

When we grow older, our housing needs shift. Some may wish to remain in the original family home until death, and if so, they've got to be prepared for the cost of doing so. As we age, our incomes typically dip, and through pensions, SS, or investments, we try to live out our lives in peace.

If a 4,200 SF home suited me in the 1980s when I was raising children, and my children are gone, it might not suit me now. If I elect to stay, I need to be prepared to spend an equal or greater amount than I spent 30 years ago. Repair, insurance and taxes do NOT go down.

If I have the income to support that decision, and I am physically able to keep the property stable, or hire it done affordably, so be it.

But not everyone can do that. The grief factor alone would cause me to downsize.

Add to it this fact: who would ever have guessed in 1960 that some neighborhoods would be lots more valuable today? That's a good thing, right?

Each family must make its own decision on this score. But do not look to me to have pity solely on the property tax issue. Sure, the system needs reformed, but any Golden Hills story is not fodder for pity. Hardly.

And Carl D.'s home is easily worth $275,000...well, unless you know the assessor...and Julia's home, if under-assessed..she should do what Peterson did: demand an increase.

Bart got in front of that train a LONG time ago.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Sturges should be forced out of her home...or do a reverse mortgage. Why should the rest of us subsidize an affluent senior citizen ? Did Judith campaign against the $800 million in IPS improvements like I did. Did she rail against the new Colts stadium like I did ? NO, she's just another Hoosier looney that doesn't understand how things are paid for.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest that Mrs.Sturgess drop her membership at the Woodstock Country Club.
I'm sure she's spittin' nails at here estate planning attorney that set up her irrevocable living trust a few years back.
I'd hit the kids up too Mrs.Sturges, they're the ones that are going to get your estate AND the fine house at Golden Hill. I'm sure $12,000 is chump change to them.
I really feel your pain Mrs.Sturgess. Your crocodile tears are drowning me.

Anonymous said...

God you people are twisted. So it's OK for Judith to get hammered on taxes, because she lives somewhere you perceive to be full of rich people. Disgusting.

I bet you blame the rape victims for wearing revealing clothing, too.

Anonymous said...

10:26,
Everyone got hammered but the rich make the news. Why don't the poor make the news when their taxes went up proportional to Sturgess'?
The knife cut two ways and the poor can damn ill afford the increase either but no one talks to them.

Anonymous said...

God forbid we should look at the taxing units, as well as the property tax system, for reform.

This kind lady cannot afford her taxes in Golden Hill. It's not twisted to observe, given the obvious facts, that she cannot afford her grand home any longer. Not without susidies or tax help.

If my taxes have to go up to help her, tough stuff. By what twisted formula does anyone think, their 30-40 year home, will cost less to operate next year, than it did in 2000? If costs rise, income (from salary, pension, or investments) msut rise accordingly. Or the two lines don't meet, and trouble ensues. Basic homeowner math.

A sad fact of life is, that as we age, these homes require regular maintenance, insruance and tax cash. The term "money pit" comes to mind. For younger, double-income folks, perhaps that's not as much of a burden. For Mrs. Sturges, obviously it is.

I am aware of one $75,000 home near mine, whose occupants got a 133% tax increase. They're going to take in daycare children twice a week to fund the increase.

We all make choices.

Lord Peter said...

I'm not in favor of anyone being forced our of her home by higher taxes - but the fact that she lives in Golden Hill does make her less sympathetic than someone with fewer options. From the wikipedia entry on Golden Hill:

Although platted in 1872, the area was not developed until the the wealthy industrialist David Parry purchased the area around 1900 to develop into his private estate, which he called Golden Hill. Upon his death in 1915, Parry's family subdivided the estate into an elegant subdivision for the wealthy with curving streets and beautiful greenspaces. Prominent and wealthy Indianapolis families built grand homes in the area from 1915-1940. Homes in the neighborhood have generally stayed within these families or have been sold to family friends.

Golden Hill remains a very exclusive enclave for the wealthy.

Wilson46201 said...

By the way, Ms. Sturges does indeed have a job already: she's an artist with a studio in the Stutz Building - she does jewelry with Swarowsky crystal. She also sells oil paintings costing in the $1000s...

Her stone, 2-story manse was built in 1937. Very classy design!

[Ain't Google great?]

Anonymous said...

So Mrs. Sturges's fiscal difficulties are less sympathy-worthy.

It does not change the fact that this worthless system of layered governmental units must cease.

And theat we need to replace the property tax. Or at the very least, eliminate the township level so only one acocuntable elected official is in charge of assessments.

But I have to admit, it is hilarious to see the lazy-ass mainstream media in this town suck the wind out of the room with breathless argument, that later gets all torn apart. Lazy, sorry-ass reporting that would crash and burn in a real media market.

Anonymous said...

You thoroughly disgust me, Wilson. You spent your entire day digging for dirt to punish an old lady who dared to speak out against property taxes. You and your whole ghetto mafia need to be dealt with and you will be. You're being watched, Wilson. Beware.

Advance Indiana said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If there is such a place as hell, Wilson long ago earned his place there. I do not begin to understand what kind of life a person leads where they get up each day with only one purpose in life--causing as much personal harm as possible to other persons with whom he disagrees. It speaks volumes about Julia Carson that this is the kind of person she would choose to hold as a close confidante.

Wilson46201 said...

When you choose an artist living in a mansion in Golden Hill to be your poster girl for excessive taxes, choose better. Any decent reporter would have used Google for 15 minutes like I did to find her story isnt as heartbreaking as some would wish it to be for their narrow partisan political interests...

Sorry to shoot down so easily your horror stories, Gary...

As for that crackpot threatening me that I'm being watched: If I see some weirdo with no eyebrows skulking around, I'll behave myself!

Wilson46201 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Gary, ban Wilson from posting comments. I'm sick of reading his posts everywhere I go. I've never met this man but he must be the ugliest man on the face of the earth. He gave birth to this beast. He must have 666 etched in his head.

Advance Indiana said...

Comment moderation is turned on. None of Wilson's comments will be accepted. Wilson has to piss in the sandbox so the other little kids can't play. I've never in my life met a more despicable person.