Render unto Caesar

I don't want to write this post because writing it down makes me admit to myself that this is reality. Our county's property tax bills came last week. (They were several months late, but that's a different story.) And because our tax bill came that means we need to pay it; which we can...this time. This house has always been a stretch for us, but now for various reasons, it appears to have become too much. When we moved in 8 years ago, the taxes were already outrageously high (especially when compared to other parts of the country), but they were doable if we were very careful with our money. But in the past couple of years, our property taxes have doubled. Even if we were to only eat beans for meals there is no way we can pay them on a continuing basis. And now with the poor performance of the stock market, we are at the end of our resources. This leaves us with several options (and I am thankful we have options):

1. One of us finds a winning lottery ticket on the ground. (I'm not buying one you know.)

2. J. is able to find another job in the area which will allow us to stay in this house.

3. J. stays at his current job and we sell this house (probably at a net loss given the market) and buy something smaller that we can afford.

4. J. finds a job elsewhere, we sell this house and we move.

I like #1 the best, but, sadly it is the one which would be the most miraculous. Given the current job market, #3 seems the most likely. I spend my days alternately being devastated that we have to leave this house and being devastated that we own this house and wanting to get rid of it. It is the definition of a money pit. Much of it is tied up with my memories of J.'s mom. She loved this house and it was through her love and generosity that we were even able to buy it in the first place. She often spoke of how perfect it would be when J. and I were older and all of our children and grandchildren came home to visit. I think it is our inability to fulfill this wish of hers that makes me most sad.

Moving will also change my life considerably. One reason we chose this house was its location. It is very close to everything and I have become spoiled. My older children can walk or ride their bikes to everything they need to get to and we live within walking distance of church. There is no need for me to get in my car for anything during the week except to go grocery shopping. And the only reason I need to do that is because I'm unwilling to pay the prices at the store within walking distance. But all this convenience comes with a price and our taxes reflect this. I don't look forward to the day when I have to go back to driving my children everywhere they need to be.

I ask for your prayers as we consider what we need to do. I also ask for your prayers for me and my ability to negotiate this change with peace and grace. Because I have to admit I'm not filled with peace at the moment. Right now the only bright spot for me is the thought of someday living out from under this financial guillotine which is where we are currently residing.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.


Mrs. Levy said…
Oh Elizabeth I am sorry to read this post of yours. I assume and trust you've been to the city about whatever income sensitivity provisions are available to you. Max's Selectboard service has made us more aware of the laws around reduction of property taxes that rise precipitously when taxes rise ahead of income. We are looking forward to reconnecting in Fort Wayne in just a couple of weeks and to meeting your beautiful new additions to the clan. Love,Alison
Joanne said…
Hi E,
oh the thought of leaving a house where you can walk everywhere ..sadness. Hope things work out for the better even though it feels bad now.
Oh man! I LOVE your house... praying that God makes a way for you to stay!
Cuppa Jo said…
You could sell and rebuy a house the size of yours here in Beaver and then you could walk with me to everything.
Cuppa Jo said…
Oh, and J could work at Geneva College or Westminster or Pitt. See, I have this plan to draw all friends to Beaver, Pa.
thecurryseven said…
I love Pa...J's gma used to live there. It's beautiful. If it weren't for Pa's punitive homeschooling laws!

sandwichinwi said…
I assume you've done the math comparing the cost of taxes and everything else with this house vs. additional costs of living in a different area, more driving, etc.

I suppose it doesn't even out.

I don't even know your house, but I'm sad for you. I'm sentimental like you and the promise to grandma thing would get me, too.

When we moved from our old house, where all our children had come home to, I SOBBED through the whole closing. It was very embarrassing for the new owners and their parents and I just couldn't stop! They kept handing me kleenex. It's funny now!


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