July 13, 2006

It's Government-Recognition Week

It's just been government-recognition week around here at the Hogan household. The first to receive recognition was the house itself. You may remember that way back when we researched the house's provenance so that we could apply for the Mills Act, wherein owners of homes of a certain age receive massive property tax benefits in exchange for agreeing to maintain their homes in a historically accurate manner. On Tuesday night, the City Council meeting started with a brief recognition ceremony for us Mills Actees; we got to shake the mayor's hand, took our picture with the rest of the homeowners in the Mills Act "class of 2006", and were presented with this plaque that's now mounted by our front door:
It's no concidence that the ceremony where they handed out the plaques took place the week after the County Assessor's property valuation for 2007 arrived in the mail:
... that little box, snipped out of our valuation notice, makes the value of having a Mills Act house pretty darn clear. We bought in 2004, but now we're paying property taxes like it's the mid-90s — woohoo! (If only we could find some way to apply the same reduction to our mortgage.) Now we just need to get some projects started around here and start sinking some of that found money back into the house.

The second to get good stuff from the government was me. On July 4th, while we were celebrating freedom and hot dogs and all that, some hard-working soul at the U.S. Patent Office was issuing a patent with my name on it! My first patent, almost four years after we made the application:

... unfortunately, it lists me as living in Morgan Hill, but you can't have everything. Maybe soon we'll start getting good (or bad, whatever) news about some of the other applications that we made around the same time period.

There's a tingly feeling about now being (in an extremely small way) part of a historical record that stretches back to 1790; maybe in the future, bored high-school kids will stumble across this patent while listening to their twentieth-generation iPods and surfing the Metaverse for three-dimensional porn, chuckling at its quaintness in much the same way that one might smile at a patent for an enhanced buggywhip or whalebone corset today.

Posted by Kevin at July 13, 2006 11:16 AM

wow. that is great. what are the details on this Mills Act thing? do you have to maintain period details INSIDE or just outside? my place was built about 80 years ago and is inside a historic district, but we have gone a little contempory inside.

Posted by: el serracho at July 18, 2006 11:18 AM

Serrach: it all depends on your city -- indeed, it's up to individual cities whether or not they want to have a Mills Act program at all. Anaheim is very hands-off and only cares about the integrity of your exterior; they do a walk-by inspection once a year (with fair warning) and judge whether or not you're in compliance based on what can be seen from the street. From what I've read, it seems that a city can require interior walkthroughs if they choose, but very few do.

Here's a PDF for you with an overview of Orange's Mills Act program.

Posted by: Kevin at July 18, 2006 06:14 PM

muchas gracias. we are kind of hands off with the preservation society, but hey, if they want to help me get money we can be the best of pals.

Posted by: el s at July 18, 2006 08:53 PM
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