Camp Fire victims look for property tax relief from Nevada County
After Eleanora Sebring, 85, lost her house in the Paradise Camp Fire last year, she chose Grass Valley as her new home.
She wanted nothing more than to own her own home again and was eager to be near her great-granddaughter and grandson, who live in the city.
“It turned out to be a big mistake,” Eleanor’s son Glenn Sebring said. “I tried to get her to move to Oroville or Marysville, but she was stubborn.”
In the wake of the fire that destroyed the homes of Eleanora and Glenn Sebring, the family was overwhelmed from their experiences and didn’t know how to start picking up the pieces.
“In that total state of shock, we didn’t know what to even think about,” Glenn Sebring said. “We were just trying to adjust to losing our house and not all there mentally.”
Glenn Sebring thought the policy found in 10 counties, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sutter, that allows homeowners affected by natural disasters to keep their previous property tax rate was standard throughout the state.
“I didn’t realize it was voluntary,” Glenn Sebring said. “The governor announced a state of emergency, so I thought in this emergency situation it just applied in all the counties.”
Glenn Sebring said since moving to Grass Valley, his mother faced economic challenges that has him worried about whether she can continue making it on her own. He said her property tax rate has tripled while she lives on a fixed income.
Nevada County is not one of the counties that allows for homeowners to apply their same tax rate after being displaced by a fire, but Glenn Sebring said he’s contacted the county to enact such a policy.
According to county officials, they haven’t received an inquiry about such a policy request since last year, when the issue never made it to the discussion phase among staff because they never heard back from the resident who brought it up.
Although there are no plans for the board to hear the matter as of now, according to county officials the issue will hinge on weighing potential revenues lost and possible effects on the housing stock.
“She’s just looking for a little relief,” Glenn Sebring said. “It wasn’t her fault PG&E burned her house down.”
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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