Erie School District to Taxpayers: Fuck You.
The hook was “Hey taxpayers, if you pay your tax bill a little sooner than previously, we’ll give you an additional 1% off your tax burden, increasing your total pre-pay discount to 3% off!”
The catch? That date is 5 months before the previous discount date and a full 7 months prior to the actual tax due date. Which means my 2013 school tax was just paid by my wonderful mortgage and escrow holder, PNC, to take advantage of the discount. So why am I kvetching? Well, because I’ve already paid my 2012 school taxes in February, meaning the district has double-dipped into my escrow, throwing it completely out of whack and forcing me to dump a bucket of cash into the account to make up the shortage.
This is bad enough, but the recent county assessment actually lowered the value of my property, meaning (yeah!) lowered taxes. But not for the school taxes that I just paid for the second time this year…because they don’t begin to use the new assessment until after next July!
I truly understand the importance of paying taxes, especially school taxes, and I pay my share. Always. On time…or rather, way before they’re due. I won’t cry about having to pay for schools that I’m not using, nor will ever again use. And I understand the crisis the district is in (through no fault of my own). But in a city that has so few taxpayers and so many poor families, for the district to employ this strategy, knowing full well how it will play out, is unconscionable.
I’ll pay the escrow shortage, it’s not like I can’t afford to push off my car maintenance and home repairs and whatever else will pop up along the way. But this year in particular has me reeling from these sudden and unexpected expenses, and it frustrates me to no end…not to mention wondering how so many others without the means get by.