Like many comedians, the late Sam Kinison, involved in a car accident with a drunk driver outside of Las Vegas and killed many years ago, performed many bits having to do with relationships gone wrong.

    Like many comedians, the late Sam Kinison, involved in a car accident with a drunk driver outside of Las Vegas and killed many years ago, performed many bits having to do with relationships gone wrong.

    In one, he's cheated on his girlfriend and in the aftermath is trying to break up with her. Between sobs, she begs him to reconsider. Later, after agreeing to stay in the relationship, as Kinison is about to board a plane at an airport, he's busted with a loaded gun in one of his bags, which was planted there by his girlfriend he mistakenly thought was so heartbroken.

    Looking back, Kinison says on stage, he realizes he must not have heard everything between his girlfriend’s tears as she tried to convince him to stay with her.

    "Don't go! Don't go!" he says, mimicking her voice, and then, much, much quieter: "Because I haven't gotten you back yet."

    I thought of Kinison's bit the other day, when I received our notice for "proposed taxes in 2018" we'll be paying for our house in Crookston. The notice arrived in the mail days after the Crookston City Council, along with City Administrator Shannon Stassen and City Finance Director Angel Weasner, discussed the City's budget and property tax levy for 2018. Even if the final budget and levy approved in December contains an 8 percent levy increase, Stassen and Weasner stressed, the City share of property taxes paid by homeowners in 2018 would actually go down, thanks to an increased tax capacity and tax base, calculated by the good folks at the Polk County Assessor's Office.

    That was hard to fathom, but the budget charts and graphs provided to me put it all right there in writing. Neat-o, I thought.

    Then the 2018 property tax notice arrived, and the City share of our property taxes in 2018 will be increasing by around $57. I literally did one of those cartoonish, eye-popping, rapid head-shaking double-takes, all that was missing was the accompanying sound effects.

    I brought this development to Weasner's attention, and, being the expert she is, she knew what had transpired: The market value of our home from 2017 to 2018 was set to increase by around $16,000, which turned our would-be tax decrease into an increase.

    Considering only a few days prior I'd written a story in the Times with a rather large headline about everyone's City share of their 2018 property taxes set to decline, I felt a lil’ queasy. I mentioned to Weasner that it might have been nice if someone had mentioned that homeowners whose market values jump in 2018 would, in fact, be faced with a City property tax hike.

    That's when I thought of Kinison, and jokingly wondered to myself if maybe I simply hadn't heard something quietly whispered in the city hall conference room that night.

    "Even with an 8 percent levy increase, the City share of property taxes in 2018 will go down." And then, much, much quieter: "Unless your home's market value increases."

    I'm no expert on this stuff, but I'm no dope, either. I get that market value doesn't translate exactly to the actual value of our home. It's the value of our home given the current housing market situation in Crookston; it sort of correlates in the eyes of the wizards behind the curtain who are charged with pulling these rabbits out of hats to the price we might put on our house if we tried to sell it.

    Market values for homes everywhere plummeted and financial markets crashed after the artificially created housing bubble burst a decade ago, costing countless people countless dollars and essentially ruining lives and retirements from sea to shining sea. Since that calamity and subsequent "recovery," market values for homes like mine and yours have been on a slow, steady rise each year, even if the only thing that changes each year is our homes are another year older.

    Our home was built in 1955. We made zero improvements to it in 2017, or in 2016. In 2015, my wife had some time off from work and ambitiously targeted the basement bathroom for remodeling. Her efforts, while some facets were slightly amateurish, are to this day universally commended by our family. But that's it. No appraiser has set foot in our home for many years. We could have filled our basement to the ceiling with concrete, and who would know?

    I asked a realtor friend the other day about calculating home market values, and she did her best to explain how it works. I followed up with a question about how a market value increase triggers a property tax increase, and she stared blankly at me for so long I had to clap my hands in front of her face to see if she was still with me.

    All of that said, I’m still OK with an 8 percent City tax levy increase in 2018. When it comes to our City staff managing the finances, they have a solid track record and deserve our confidence.