Living in the City of Milwaukee has provided a rollercoaster ride of assessments since I bought my house a decade ago. You've likely experienced the same.
For the first few years, assessments went up, up, up. Because I had no plans to sell, that wasn't especially beneficial, so I didn't worry too much initially when they stagnated, dipped and stagnated again.
But on Saturday, we got our new assessment in the mail and found it had dropped another 8 percent and our home is now assessed at less than we paid for it 10 years ago. That's just depressing.
City-wide, residential assessments are down 3.13 percent. Condo owners took a hit half that.
Of course, we all know that despite assessments our taxes never really go down, so while some argue that's an upside of a lower valuation, I've yet to really see that "benefit" pay off.
It worries me. And I was already nervous about Madison tinkering further with Milwaukee's own business by outlawing the residency requirement that has helped keep the city relatively stable through the good times and bad.
My quiet, green, friendly neighborhood is full of police, fire, school and city workers and I fear that an explosion of for sale signs on neighborhood lawns will send housing prices tumbling even lower.
Like my parents, I always thought homeownership was a road to financial stability. I never expected it to pay major dividends or be a get-rich-quick scheme, but I'd hoped it would keep us afloat.
Now I'm not so sure anymore.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.