Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Signs of the Apocalypse #239: DC Government

In the last few months, I've had several attempted communications with the DC Government.

1) September 18, Office of Tax and Revenue. My house is not receiving the "Homestead Deduction," despite having filed the proper form when I closed on my mortgage. Letter requests that status be updated, and taxes adjusted retroactively.

2) September 26, Adjudication Services. I write to deny guilt in the matter of my cell phone ticket.

3) October 12, Office of Tax and Revenue. I notice on DCRA's real property database that the homestead status of my house has been corrected. Unfortunately, the taxable assessment has not changed. In addition, the proposed tax for 2008 is about 14% more than the 2007 assessment, which is in violation of the 10% annual increase cap. So I write them, again.

Beyond that, I tried to dump some cinder blocks at the Fort Totten Transfer Station. They said I couldn't dump them and gave me a photocopied sheet explaining that they weren't taking masonry while the transfer station was being renovated, and that the renovation would be complete in late summer 2007. The irony of it being November at the time, was lost on the fellow. Fortunately, the sheet included three other places nearby where I could take such stuff (for a fee, I am sure). Unfortunately, when I called them, each said the same thing: no, actually, we don't take masonry. Nicely done, DPW.

Anyhoo, today is November 27. I have never received any communication from "Adjudication Services" (whatever that is), or OTR on either of these matters. While I understand that OTR has probably been distracted by about 31 million other problems, obviously someone read my first letter since the status changed. Too bad they can't be bothered to actually write me back. Of course calling them is completely useless, since they just tell you to write them a letter.

As for the cell phone ticket, I'm not especially concerned, except to the extent that the silence I am experiencing probably means someone just tossed the letter. Which will result in me getting stern notices of fines and loss of my driver's license. I should have sent that one by registered mail...

Anyway, methinks the time has come to write letter #3 to DCRA, since this one actually will cost me a lot of money if one of those crooks doesn't deal with it. Not sure about the cell phone one, though. Maybe no news is good news.

In fact, the only communication I have received from DC in the last few months in response to my contact with them, is from the Department of Motor Vehicles. I registered for a vanity plate online, and got a letter about two weeks later saying that it had been approved. More on that soon.

But seriously. When DMV is the only moderately functioning agency in the DC government, the apocalypse must be near.