I was convinced at the Science March by speaking to some people more knowledgeable than I am on matters of property status that I should call to ask why I lost my Homesteader status on my property this year. I assumed it was because I failed to fill out an annual form because mail delivery here is very bad, and I often get letters for people all over my block. They told me that there is no annual renewal, though, so I called today. It turned out that they didn't receive a form last year, even though I filled it out and turned it in at the Hennepin County office listed on the form. The lady last year told me that it should be delivered elsewhere (even though it had the Minneapolis office address right there on the form where I delivered it), but they would sent it to the correct office. All done... or so I thought. The lady on the phone today from the Minneapolis City Assessor's Office said they never received it, but she'll mail another one today. That's good, since my taxes were going up a very large amount (for me) because of that status loss.
My taxes were done months ago, and I earned just under $30,600 in 2016. It doesn't sound like much, and it isn't, but it's a lot more than I earned working at the local animal shelter for years. It doesn't allow much of anything for savings, but I'm still getting by "easily" in my house. To buy my house last year, I relied entirely on the savings that I quickly acquired while working for Dell for one year. Life would be easier if I could tolerate long commutes and for-profit corporate life, but it's just not worth the toll on my well being. I'm better off poor at non-profits, and I don't regret it. :)
Speaking of taxes, my property taxes were going up a LOT this year as a result of the assessment increase and the loss of homesteading. Luckily, I've been overpaying just enough each month that I could absorb that increase, but hopefully I can get the tax reduction from homesteading back onto my property. Meanwhile, my assessment went up from $57K to $65.5K. That's still a lot less than the value I'm paying on insurance, since that's a full replacement cost of $150K. But... I mentioned being poor, right? Lower taxes are good for me. I plan to continue volunteering to help make a difference in the local crime in Jordan community of Minneapolis, so hopefully I'm contributing a commensurate benefit with my time instead of my cash.
My parents left me a gift last year that will cover the nice fencing that I want for the yard. I got the quote from the company if I do all the work myself. I need to give them the okay to order the materials, since the ground is now thawed. I'll have to install the fence myself for the cheaper price, which will still be over $3.5K for everything. I think that I'll "feel" a lot better about living here, though, once that's done. I've been woken up a few times already this month by gunshots, so adding a small sense of security would be a good thing for me. And with a fenced back yard, I could easily get a dog for additional peace of mind.
I'll soon be facing some new stress at work (a coworker taking a very long leave of absence for a worthwhile cause), but that's the only added stress that I anticipate for 2017. If that's all I have to worry about, then this year will be a good one.