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City trouble
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I have lived in the same home for over 50 years. It was passed down to me by my parents. I have always paid my taxes and tried to be a good neighbor. Now the city has forced me to be homeless.

My troubles started in 2003, after I became disabled. The city cited me under its nuisance ordinance. They said I had to clean up my yard and trim my trees. Unfortunately, due to my disability I was unable to do it myself. They sent out a crew to my home and told me that they were going to do the clean up and put a lien against my home for the cost. They told me I did not have to worry about the bill as they would get their money when they sold the house after I died. I told them that was OK as I had no one to leave the house to anyway.

However, when I later went to pay my normal $400 a year property tax they told me that was unacceptable. They said that I needed to pay not only my normal yearly property tax but that they also had made the abatement cost part of the tax and I needed to pay that as well. To add insult to my injury they also added a 58 percent administrative fee to the cost of the abatement.

Last year my tax bill was over $100,000. They put my home up for tax sale but with the taxes so high it did not sell. This year they made the minimum bid $15,000 and sold my home. Now I am going to be homeless and end up costing the county even more money in services than if they left me in my home.

Would it not be more humane and cost effective if the city had let me pay my normal taxes and live in my home? They could still get their money from the sale of my home after I passed away. Perhaps they would have even gotten more money due to an improved housing market. Instead they were callous and in the long run cost themselves more money. In the mean time I will be homeless and further dependent on government assistance.

— Tony Rodrigues