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Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
posted by smittyhoo on October 9th, 2012 8:05 AM
They should reset it to Oct 1 for me and Joe then. No difference to anyone else :)Thanks for posting everything.
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
posted by ineoeni on October 9th, 2012 1:20 AM
Hi everyone, I'm sorry it's taken a while to get this out to everyone, but I hope the analysis below helps.First, let me address some of the concerns brought up in earlier comments.1) Resetting "solar balances annually is pretty common and makes sense for the utility because they don't want to incentivize people to build larger than necessary systems. Smittyhoo - Changing the reset date really doesn't change anything - for one, the vast majority of the neighborhood (90% or so) doesn't produce more electricity in the winter than they consume). It's probably worth looking at some more data, but I'm 95% sure that with the increased fixed charge and rates, it's highly unlikely that a lot of people are offsetting in winter months when you take into account the fixed charge.2) When we get rebates from Austin Energy - we agreed to play by their rules. AE isn't charging you for electricity you produced - they are charging you for electricity you use from the "system" and paying you for sending electricity into the "system". It's obviously semantics, but this is the way they look at it.Alright, it's late, so I'm not going to say this elegantly. It is important to note that there are TWO changes that occurring at the same time, making it harder to evaluate the change. (1) Rates are going up across the board and (2) AE is changing how they compensate solar owners. As far as (1) goes, rates are going up - that sucks, but they are going up for everyone, so regardless of whether you have solar or not, the rate increase will cause our bills to go up.So, in order to get a handle on whether the change to gross metering is helping us, OR if we'd rather have net metering on the new rate structure, I've done two analyses (attached). The first is a modified version of HelloJustice's spreadsheet. I took the liberty to add another scenario (old rates w/ gross metering) and also added some scenario analysis which will show you the "benefit of solar in dollars" in each difference scenario. Only change the cells at the top highlighted yellow.This analysis makes it apparent that your preference for gross vs. net metering has a great deal to do with whether you consume a lot, or a little electricity. Based on the average system size in Mueller, and about an average of 1,000 of excess consumption, you essentially don't care (it's the breakeven). Said another way, the spreadsheet shows that the AE changes make ALL OF OUR investments in solar better (increases ROI & Payback), but depending on how much electricity we use above our solar, we may or may not have benefitted MORE with net metering.Conclusion, having gone solar was the right financial decision and got even better due the changes. The second sheet is an update to my original analysis from 2011.This should make it pretty clear that the recent rate changes make solar more attractive. We can argue about whether or not AE should have kept net metering, but the reasoning (as I understand it) is sound. For solar to be sustainably structured, the fixed costs in the system need to be paid for by everyone - this change makes AE better incentivized solar projects because they'll always be compensated for the infrastructure they provide. Changes like these make it easier for AE to increase the solar budget without concern about the stability of the entire system (they just increased the total budget to $7.5mm from about $4mm, so maybe these types of changes matter).Anyway, it's late, so I apologize for the verbosity.Please let me know if this is helpful or if you have additional questions.Aman amankj ...at...gmail.com
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
posted by henningspruth on October 7th, 2012 12:35 PM
The way I read it they will charge the tiered charge (between 1.8 and 11.4 cents per kWh) plus the regulatory charge (0.73 cents per kWh) plus the power supply adjustment (3.37 cents per kWh) for the whole house consumption, i.e. between 5.9 and 15.5 cents per kWh total.They will credit 12.8 cents for every kWh produced.I have not quite wrapped my head around whether this is better or worse than the current model. It seems that if you use less than 1000 kWh a month, it would be for the solar credit to cancel out the whole house charges. For example, if you use exactly 1000kWh in the summer, you'd only need 760 kWh of solar production to cancel out all charges.I agree with smittyhoo that it would be preferable to do the reset in October.
cycling, accidents, walking-running, To Go Cars
posted by commuter on May 22nd, 2012 2:42 PM
Rod,sorry to hear about the car running into you.I was going to second smittyhoo's suggestion about the bus route on capmetro.
Pedaling for Safer Roads Ride May 3rd, 7pm
posted by doug on May 2nd, 2012 10:39 PM
Thanks for posting Smittyhoo. Anyone interested in riding down and joining in?
Bike Route Help
posted by doug on May 1st, 2012 10:02 PM
Dan, Google maps also has a route finder for bikes. I don't know that its any better than ridethecity.com as they each have a lot to offer. I'd also add that Smittyhoo's offer to help is the best of all worlds!
Our Consensus
posted by Robert Boone on April 26th, 2012 9:56 AM
I'm with Megan. Q Public, if you do write a humor book, I'll buy a copy. And I'll give it to smittyhoo as a present.Seriously, I'd LOVE to see an off-leash park around here. That's one of the things I think this place is really missing.
Don't forget electric mopeds as a local transportation option
posted by Cynthia Alexander on April 24th, 2012 1:47 PM
Grace & Smittyhoo you have both been very helpful and I appreciate efforts in helping me locate a scooter.
Red Herrings thrive in a high nitrogen environment.
posted by AnotherPiperDown on April 23rd, 2012 10:47 AM
Smittyhoo is clued in on the real problem here. People are unhappy about the noise pollution and appeal to smuggy greenness to try and gather support for their cause... I smell a red herring!I was thinking... Neighborhood message boreds really are the opposite of good fences.... now how do I turn off email notifications on this thing.
From our APD District Rep.
posted by smittyhoo on March 29th, 2012 10:25 AM
This is from the former education coordinator for the League of American Bicyclists (smittyhoo comments in parentheses): There is no discussion in the Texas Transportation Code that I have been able to find. If the riding of bicycles on a sidewalk is banned and the crosswalk is an extension of that sidewalk then you could make a good case for cycling being banned in the cross walk (not the case at our crossing). When a bike path crosses a road via a painted crosswalk the cyclist is responsible for their own safety. Unless the local jurisdiction is clear that motorists must yield to the users of the trail the safest way is to walk and then state law requires motorists to yield right of way to pedestrians on their side of the road. Some states have written laws to address this but AFAIK Texas law does not address the issue (the case at our crossing). Signage that is placed by a governing body can require the motorists to yield or stop as is done on the W&OD trail in VA. But signage can also require cyclists to dismount and walk as is done on the Mount Vernon trail also in VA (no special signage at our crossing) So my final answer is IT DEPENDS!
deducting photovoltaic installation in 2011
posted by RosscoB on February 21st, 2012 2:53 PM
Smittyhoo,I'm glad you were online to discuss this because you bring up very good points. I also think it would be hazzardous for any solar installer to recommend anything other than what is prescribed in §136 & §48 and to treat the payment from the City of Austin and PSP as subsidies. I've been a CPA working in tax since 1992 and would consider this point one where the tax code and associated regulations don't properly cover all the situations that can arise. When dealing with the IRS, value can alway be argued when no standard exists. I have also seen similar tax court cases where mineral rights were exchanged for consideration even though it had never been established there were any minerals to be had on the property. So, even though there were currently no minerals, the rights to any that might come about in the future have an assignable fair market value. There are numberous questions and ensuing arguments surrounding this issue including: 1) What is my cost basis in my rights to the PV Credit?; 2) What is the value of my rights to the PV Credits?; 3) Should the payment from the city of austin be segregated into amounts paid as an incentive and an amount paid for the rights based on their FMV?My point being that just because there isn't a market for our PV credits today, the rights to our credits may and that value is fuzzy.I had a very bright law professior who used to say "Tell me a story". What he meant was that the law was often unclear and the actual answers to tax law questions are based around the facts and circumstances of the situation.It is unclear whether or not this arguement would hold up under examination by the IRS, but it does have validity. The position is not without risk, but I do believe it will give a favorable current benefit.I'd love to talk about it with you in the alley one evening.
deducting photovoltaic installation in 2011
posted by Betsy on February 21st, 2012 6:02 AM
Exactly. We took the Pecan Street rebate ourselves so I asked them whether I'd be receiving a 1099-MISC from them. I thought I would take the credit on the amount I paid out of pocket and then claim the rebate as income. They instructed me to do as smittyhoo says above. Take the amount you paid minus all rebates, and use that amount for your credit.
The Local Area Traffic Management program (LATM)?
posted by Betsy on January 19th, 2012 12:21 PM
The application just starts the process as Smittyhoo notes. If we're among the first 60 to apply, the City will conduct studies to determine whether excessive speeds are prevalent. I'm not sure any of our streets will rise to that threshold at this point, but at least we'll have some data collected and know where we stand. IF the City determines that we do have speeding problems on one or more of these streets, they'll look into alternatives to mitigate the problem. Humps are not their first choice. And, I believe they'll work with the community to develop solutions. Implementation of any solution would require community support.
replace automatic garage door opener
posted by Billie Oldziey on July 29th, 2011 10:34 AM
Thanks, Smittyhoo. I actually do not need the whole apparatus replaced. Just the little hand-held remote device that opens the door from far, far away. But maybe the stores that sell the whole apparatus will have a way to replace the little hand-held remote device. I have emailed Liftmaster and am waiting for their response.
Kids in Bars [Was: Survey Mueller Parents]
posted by Mitch P on May 10th, 2011 6:43 PM
SmittyHoo said "Oh good. I am glad they are not a hazard. I was actually a bit concerned since we have a 2-year old. I had no idea how big they were honestly. I wanted to play washers one time we were there with some adults but were told that kids had lost them all and they needed to buy more."Ah, so its a BYOW establishment. Always good to know ahead of time. ;)
Survey Mueller Parents
posted by smittyhoo on May 10th, 2011 6:04 PM
Oh good. I am glad they are not a hazard. I was actually a bit concerned since we have a 2-year old. I had no idea how big they were honestly. I wanted to play washers one time we were there with some adults but were told that kids had lost them all and they needed to buy more.
Survey Mueller Parents
posted by Daniel Colimon on May 10th, 2011 5:48 PM
smittyhoo,I agree with you but:- the washers are 2.5"-I think I would rather have rowdy toddlers tossing them around than drunken adults. I love my Mueller neighbors.
Mueller Houses and The Gap
posted by ccosart on March 25th, 2011 11:47 PM
First, thanks to Rahm McDaniel for sticking up for me and, much more importantly, the points about The Gap and fulfilling the New Urbanist goals of Mueller. He’s a better messenger than me, I’ll readily admit. I'll try to get to some of the more specific points later, but I do have a question for smittyhoo and Daniel, and anyone else who wants to chime in: Why is it not legitimate to expect Catellus to fulfill the promises made that Mueller would be open to all income levels, given that this was public land being developed as part of a deal which was sold based on that very promise? I really haven’t heard a good answer to that. It’s not like middle income families are demanding that we be able to buy a penthouse at the Austonian or Four Seasons Residences. Merely that Mueller/Catellus keep its side of the deal. It seems to me that the burden should be on those saying the promise shouldn’t be kept to explain why.
Mueller Houses and The Gap
posted by schroed on March 24th, 2011 7:33 PM
Hate to step into the middle of a good argument, but perhaps I can give a different perspective on Michael's (smittyhoo's) use of the word 'bias.'You have to understand that Chris (ccosart) has a very long history -- several years -- of coming to this community website and pissing all over our community. Sorry to be crude, but there's no better word for it.Now, he has some valid points about there being an income range or 'gap' in which families earn too much to qualify for the 'affordable' program, but too little to buy a market rate home. The gap is real, and that is unfortunate, but it is debatable whether any price structure could have achieved 20% affordability (however defined) without any external subsidies, and still serve the entire middle income range. It seems to me they used a very creative solution to get us to 20% affordability without external subsidies. Is it perfect? No. But to my knowledge there is no better model around for ensuring a range of incomes without resorting to subsidies.As I understand it, Chris was highly disappointed to have just missed the income cutoff, and understandably so. He and his family eventually bought a home elsewhere.The part I don't understand is why he can't just let it go. In his rage, he dilutes his one valid point by peppering his posts with ridiculous points like the fact that we have no rail or school yet, even though we're only in the fourth year of the residential buildout. And condescending comments like we "can return to arguing about parking and dog and cat poop." Perhaps he thinks he is doing a public service by keeping the 'gap' issue alive, and maybe he's right. But in my estimation, averaged over the years, his posts are about 20% public service and 80% venom.I happen to know Chris through a mutual acquaintance, and he's not a bad guy. I believe he would have made a good Muellerite and neighbor. But in this matter, for his own sake if not for ours, he needs to just let it go.
WTB USB Keyboard
posted by ristexas on March 16th, 2011 7:55 AM
Thank you both! I'll be contacting you, Smittyhoo.
Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators
posted by Rod on December 16th, 2010 12:06 PM
Ming, other neighbors,I have benefited from interactions with many talented Chinese scientists during my career, and many of my 240 peer-reviewed publications are coauthored with Chinese colleagues, who have been graduate students or postdoctoral fellows in my research group. I feel fortunate to have worked with them, and those who have graduated from my group have gone on to stellar careers in high tech startups, industry, and academia. http://bucky-central.me.utexas.edu/My original post was perhaps intended to generate discussion about education in general, with a focus on K-12. Admittedly (and Michael aka "Smittyhoo", I think justifiably, "called me out on it") I perhaps too quickly threw in comments about parasitical influences in the USA that (in my opinion) take funds that could otherwise be used to do what I would characterize as useful things (building manufacturing facilties to build products relevant to civilian markets, educating students in economically disadvantaged areas, and so on) instead of devoting such taxpayer monies to "dead end" activities. In retrospect it would have been wiser on my part to let the discussion develop a bit more with more input from others. My apologies. Thus, I displayed my extreme frustration with what I consider to be essentially mafia influences in our country that are (in my opinion) directing various kinds of "wars" (on drugs! on terror! on many other countries in the world!), about our huge prison population paid for by the US taxpayer, and so on. Ideally, I would have posted with a subject line like "PARASITES" to generate an entirely different thread looking for, e.g., inputs on data showing the enormous drain on the American taxpayer from these parasitical influences that are present on "the host=USA" at this time. Again, my apologies for perhaps too quickly mixing such themes together...I see such parasitical influences as intimately connected to our not doing as well as we could for a reasonably high fraction of children, in terms of K-12 education. Others might not connect the dots that way. I note that standardized tests are also in my opinion, problematic. As my friends from Singapore and China have in their own words mentioned, there is a concern about so much studying and (rote) learning versus not extinguishing passion for learning and creativity in children, from too much emphasis on standardized tests and extreme competition. That is, it seems that there is from the 6 respondents that I queried and whose replies I posted verbatim, also a strong concern about helping foster each child's creativity, that children could develop a healthy passion for learning, and so on. This is a topic of very active discussion in Singapore at this time. There is not simply a blind pride on the part of Singaporeans about their kids doing well on standardized tests--at least from my discussions with tens of Singaporeans during my recent visits there. There is a real concern about lettings the child's soul nourished be as well...but how to to that if one has a system in place, fairly entrenched, that is based on intense testing and competition? That is their challenge. Ours is perhaps less trivial. Ridding one's country of mafia to allow taxpayer monies to be more usefully allocated...-Rod
Blue trucking parked at the park - ask the owner?
posted by GarrethWilcock on November 16th, 2010 11:08 AM
I parked a white truck in front of someone's house (in a public space) for a while when I first moved here.Then I went out of town. The neighbors whose view I was blocking put a really nice note on the windshield, asking me if I'd move it as they had people coming to stay and needed the space. I got a friend to move it, sent them a note. They sent me a thank you note.I haven't parked in front of their house since. Ditto to Smittyhoo's comment - congratulations on the baby!
Ella Wooten Park
posted by Detra Price-Dennis on August 29th, 2010 9:23 AM
Well smittyhoo, I think I'll leave the bball skills up to you. These guys didn't seem like the type to share our sense of humor. However, the drape or sound blanket maybe worth looking into- thanks for the idea.We can live with a few occasional games going on past 9pm, but what really concerns me is the confrontational attitude these young men took when approached about the issue. That said, I am more inclined to agree with Betsy and mbe about changing the basketball court hours from 5am-9pm during the school year.Thank you for reaching out and sharing ideas [:smile:]
Biking From Mueller
posted by doug on July 31st, 2010 8:53 PM
No need to pack up the bike in the car to go ride. Here are some resources that will allow you to ride from your door: 14 mi. route from Mueller (repost from above): http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3001149Map your own route by bike: http://www.ridethecity.com/austinOr like Smittyhoo says, find a route here: http://www.mapmyride.com/find-ride/united-states/tx/austinI also still have some Austin Bike Maps available if anyone would like one.
Transportation Issues
posted by sloneycho on July 9th, 2010 11:00 AM
While I agree that Smittyhoo's design is better for separating the left turning traffic (in at Zach Scott, out at Antone), it does little to help with the biggest pedestrian hazard, which is the through traffic on Airport. Please let me know if I am I missing something.-steve
Transportation Issues
posted by Kevin McGillicuddy on July 8th, 2010 10:31 AM
Smittyhoo, this is close to what I had in mind. If a left turn onto Airport from Antone were an option, it might not be necessary to have one at Zach Scott, although I'm not sure I'd do away with that because as traffic increases in and out of Mueller, that might be needed. I agree that since Antone is closer to 38 1/2 there would be more dependable breaks in traffic for those wanting to get across Airport either into or out of Mueller. Removing the U-turn options at Zach Scott and Airport also seems like a good idea to me. Your diagram doesn't show what you would do with left turns onto Schieffer from Airport. (?) Also, could you define "longhorn intersection?" I've seen that elsewhere, but am not familiar with the term.
Mortgage Rates Low Now
posted by icemonkeyharvest on June 10th, 2010 9:25 AM
smittyhoo! Your Mueller Community account has been hacked.
Does anyone has a 20-ft or so ladder I can borrow?
posted by Greg Buford on April 15th, 2010 8:29 AM
Sorry, Smittyhoo, I do not. But when you get one, please leave out by the pool fence so we can have a reliable method of getting in to swim. Greg
Zabreznik Solar System Up & Running
posted by Jack Chen on January 20th, 2010 1:28 PM
Dear smittyhoo,I am interested in the solar panel as well. But I am wondering when the money putting into the solar panels can be compensated by the electricity bill I save? From your experience, do you have some rough numbers?Best,Jack
Do Solar Panels increase the Value of a house? (Question for RE agents!)
posted by Adam Pyrek on September 14th, 2009 1:14 AM
I used the numbers from the article (found by smittyhoo) “Evidence of Rational Market Valuations for Home Energy Efficiency” that states that a $1 reduction in annual energy costs would increase a home’s value by $20.73. These are the costs that I calculated for three Solar Electric (PV) system sizes:4kW - Resident's cost after incentives: $14,000; and the increase in home values: $11,8006kW - Resident's cost after incentives: $21,000; and the increase in home values: $17,6008kW - Resident's cost after incentives: $28,000; and the increase in home values: $23,600This would indicated that if you ever sold your house with a solar electric system the buyer would offset most of your initial investment. At least in theory, this seems to reduce the payback period significantly. You would benefit from the production of electricity several years sooner. If anyone here has a PV system, please let me know how your real costs compared to the projected costs above (after incentives). I would imagine that a Solar Thermal system (hot water) might be even a more attractive investment. Is there anyone who has Solar Thermal panels?
Do Solar Panels increase the Value of a house? (Question for RE agents!)
posted by Adam Pyrek on September 14th, 2009 1:13 AM
I used the numbers from the article (found by smittyhoo) “Evidence of Rational Market Valuations for Home Energy Efficiency” that states that a $1 reduction in annual energy costs would increase a home’s value by $20.73. These are the costs that I calculated for three Solar Electric (PV) system sizes:4kW - Resident's cost after incentives: $14,000; and the increase in home values: $11,8006kW - Resident's cost after incentives: $21,000; and the increase in home values: $17,6008kW - Resident's cost after incentives: $28,000; and the increase in home values: $23,600This would indicated that if you ever sold your house with a solar electric system the buyer would offset most of your initial investment. At least in theory, this seems to reduce the payback period significantly. You would benefit from the production of electricity several years sooner. If anyone here has a PV system, please let me know how your real costs compared to the projected costs above (after incentives). I would imagine that a Solar Thermal system (hot water) might be even a more attractive investment. Is there anyone who has Solar Thermal panels?
calRodgersPopulation
posted by queeneliz1 on July 12th, 2009 10:01 PM
sloneycho- the Mueller Babysitting Coop has started a Mueller "meals on heels" program to deliver about 5 meals to families with new babies (i.e. walking meals to someone instead of driving). If you can you send me their contact info by PM I will be happy to coordinate. We are also happy to have new members or hear of other families in the neighborhood who have new babies! I will also contact smittyhoo... since your house is welcoming a new baby soon too! Melanie
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
posted by moving on June 29th, 2009 4:48 PM
Getting crazy from the heat... smittyhoo, you are correct and thanks for reading in between the lines. The temperature will not get below 80.Ironically the windows on the garage apartment are facing both north and east.I've called the service department and they're coming on Thursday... will keep folks posted on what they say.
A/C problem for Blanton; A/C general tips
posted by Siebrise on June 27th, 2009 7:58 AM
Great hints, smittyhoo. Thanks. Not too closely related to this string's original Blanton issue (which has been well addressed), another A/C hint is that if a home's temperature (and possibly humidity) are allowed to remain high for a while, when the thermostat is turned low again, the A/C must cool and dry not only the air inside the home but also all the furniture, walls, etc. Depending on the home and contents, that can take a while. Energy-saving daytime settings (both temperature and end time) might have to be tweaked a bit to fit your particular home, especially during these strings of triple-digit days.
HAVING THE INSTALLERS COME TO MUELLER More: Solar panels approved!
posted by Rod on June 5th, 2009 6:00 PM
I heard from Shanda today and 4 folks have contacted her so far. Anyone with an interest in solar, contact her please as outlined above, and we will try to find a good time and place for Texas Solar (and potentially other vendors) to present to us. To reiterate: We will ensure that we get a list of Mueller residents (and neighbors from neighboring communities are heartily welcomed!) for circulation also to other vendors/installers approved by Austin Energy, should they also want to present on what they have to offer. Also Michael aka 'Smittyhoo" kindly did an economic analysis of possibilities for households "banding together" to buy/have installed solar PV, which I forwarded to Dusty simply for his information. Should others at Mueller have an interest in seeing Michael's analysis, please ask him for it. Michael obviously already has his system in, so he did this purely as a courtesy to his neighbors. Perhaps he and Dusty can vet a bit further than simply post a link to their Excel file for further vetting. I am not going to put myself in the middle of that, because I have no background in such types of analysis. Rod
HAVING THE INSTALLERS COME TO MUELLER More: Solar panels approved!
posted by Rod on June 4th, 2009 3:17 PM
This thread offers the possibility of noting that one of the certified installers of solar panels in Austin, Texas Solar, has offered to make a presentation at Mueller, if we can find the proper venue. In this regard, it might be possible for many neighbors to attend, including those who might have already installed like Michael (smittyhoo), to ask questions, etc. I am not favoring one vendor over another--one can envision doing this with several vendors. What I brought up with Texas Solar was the possibility of saving money per household, by a number of households banding together so that the installer benefits from certain economies of scale. Besides this, I think a face to face meeting with lots of Q&A is also helpful for vetting this situation. If your household is interested in a face to face meeting somewhere at Mueller with one (or more) of the Austin Energy certified installers of solar panels please email shanda@TXSPC.com with subject heading MUELLER SOLAR. Shanda SansingTexas Solar Power Company1703 W. Koenig Lane, Austin, TX 78756512.459.9494512.451.5934 faxwww.TXSPC.comshanda@TXSPC.comI have alerted Shanda of this posting on our community web site. -Rod aka Ra Ra
A question for Mueller's families...
posted by Elizabeth on May 7th, 2009 5:04 PM
Thank you to everyone for your opinions, and, all the helpful information...I really do appreciate it. : ) I certainly hope that I did not offend anyone by being frank because that was surely not my intent. I definitely feel that Mueller is a unique, and, also a truly refreshing type of environment! I totally, totally agree especially with smittyhoo especially - I would also rather live in a non-pretentious community that does not contribute to urban sprawl and I would like to introduce my child to culture and diversity at an early age...don't get much of it out here in the NW for sure. Did some more research on the Kensington and was glad to find that it does not have hourly rentals like the builder we met with had mentioned (thanks for that info sloneycho)...just FYI though - it does have weekly rental rates available...and yes, I was bothered by it's condition and close proximity to the house we considered on Tom Miller and I do feel that this concern, along with my other safety concerns of the area are valid, but, I don't think that they are going to stop us from moving to Mueller! Again, thanks so much to everyone for all of this information. : )
New residents beware - Time Warner Sales Scam
posted by vaneis on May 6th, 2009 7:24 PM
We have AT&T Uverse and love it. We have the exact same deal smittyhoo detailed above. We use T-Mobile for our home phone at $10 a month. We've had AT&T for about a year now and the price has always remained the same. There hasn't been any increases.
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
posted by langhugh on April 28th, 2009 1:53 PM
A couple of points from that link and others at DSIRE.org In my opinion, if the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit as edited in February's stimulus bill is supposed to anything, it would have to go from 30% net to 30% gross. Austin Energy certainly believes this or they would not have dropped their rebate from $4.50 to $3.75 (per conversation with Ed Clark, AE's Communications Director). As to how IRS wishes to fully account for the credit, if they really wanted to provide an incentive for the green economy, then they would, in essence, do no more rule-maiking. They would just consider that the $5,000 out-of-pocket (after AE rebate and IRS credit) you just paid for a 6KW array would only be a $5,000 improvement to your home's basis and not a $33,000 improvement (total cost of array). This would be fair and an obvious stimuls to distributed solar in Austin/ in Texas/ in the US. If the IRS were to consider the AE Rebate taxable income as a recapture to expanding the 30% gross credit, then we in Austin would say "Thanks, but you're not really helping me here". To use Smittyhoo's example, a 25% income tax on his $24,000 AE rebate would be $6,000. The Federal Tax Credit under this current revision would be $ 10,685.36, whereas the old cap was $2,000. The net benefit would be the $ 10,685.36 new tax credit, minus $6,000 in new income taxes, miunus the $2,000 old tax credit, or $2685...not chump change, but not a huge incentive to go solar. With AE's decreacsed rebate, a 6Kw system's payback would be back into the 10-15 year range. I wouldn't think the IRS would go this route. . The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, while non-refundable, allows you to carryover the unused credit to future tax years. This is good for folks with median incomes who can spread the credit over several years and effectively live income-tax free during that time. Oh, and don't take our words for it, please consult your tax professional. Although they won't have a clue what you're talking about, at least they have to take responsibilty for their advice.
More: Solar panels approved!
posted by onlittlefield on April 28th, 2009 10:15 AM
This all sounds amazing. Smittyhoo I had a question about your calculations. You calculate the federal tax savings on the total cost [35,617.87*0.3=10,685.36]. I understood that the savings was on the price - austin rebate i.e. [(35,617.87-24,318)*0.3=3390] which is substantially less and for me changes my whole cost benefit analysis. Please tell me my information is wrong!
Travis County Appraisals available
posted by langhugh on April 23rd, 2009 9:35 AM
Bryna, Not knowing all the ins-and-outs of property appraisals, my guess is that your 2008 appraisal was probably a middle-ground appraisal because it included a dampening value from the unfinished lots around your home or on your block. This is evidenced elsewhere in the development, although not always as smittyhoo might attest. Assuming your 2008 appraisal was below your purchase price, then you can probably assume that your 2009 is a full "base" appraisal for your finished home, on a finshed block, in a semi-finsihed neighborhood. Just a guess. As I mentioned earlier, I received a middle-ground appraisal in the mail just three weeks ago before receiving this one that raised the appraisal 60%. Another possibility, appraisers also look for interior/exterior improvements after their base appraisals. Of course, they ask you to volunteer this information whenever you add a room over the garage or build a covered outdoor area, but people don't always volunteer and the county doesn't always catch up to the property changes. This explains why MLS listings often show the seller representing that their true square footage is several hundred square feet above TCAD. There are many homes in beautiful Austin neighborhoods where the owner is paying property taxes on 70-80% of their homes' square footage. In this case, if a visual inspection turns up something different/bigger than what's on their report, they'll amend it. I assume the 10% cap goes out the window when they amend their report. Dusty
Travis County Appraisals available
posted by langhugh on April 23rd, 2009 1:21 AM
You gotta love a little hot property tax talk...so self-interested, so voyeuristic. SHOULD YOU PROTEST? In fact, I'll apologize upfront for the voyeuristic nature of property tax analysis, but a couple of quick observations. Both garden courts, the DW Row Houses, and all the Streetman Homes are substantially, substantially under-appraised, and the Row House and Streetman buyers should be thanking their lucky stars. If this gambit succeeds, you'll be saving many, many $$$. Most of the SP and Weekley homes seem about right, and Meritage homes are somewhat over-appraised. . You are setting the base appraisal from which all future appraisal hikes will be based. Your appraisal increases are capped at 10% per year after the base appraisal, so now is the time to fight the base appraisal. HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS As far as the homestead exemptions, if you've applied, then your appraisal should look like smittyhoo's. Using current tax rates, there are three exemptions available: 1. State-level $15,000 Homestead Exemption off of your school tax. This has become less and less relevent over the years with housing appreciation and rising tax rates, but 180 bucks savings is 180 bucks savings. 2. County-level 20% Homestead exemption on your county and county healthcare taxes. Note the savings here is dependent on your appraisal, but in Travis County, the savings equates to about $96 per $100,000 appraised value. 3. ACC gives you a $5000 Homestead Exemption which is worth exactly $4.75. So a $300,000 homebuyer would benefit $472.75 (current rates) by filing a simple ...do it. 2009 CLOSINGS I'm curious if anyone who closed in 2009 have been recently appraised.
Travis County Appraisals available
posted by smittyhoo on April 22nd, 2009 6:02 PM
OK so just to make sure I'm doing this right, because this is my first year in TX...I have the HS Exemption. So I took the data from the table and did the following calculations in the last column...should this be a fair estimate of my actual tax bill I'll be receiving soon? smittyhoo, on Flickr">PropertyAssessmentTaxesCalculation
Clubhouse?
posted by queeneliz1 on February 14th, 2009 11:48 AM
I would hope so, smittyhoo, at least one room made available for meetings of the community. Lack of a clubhouse or central meeting place indoors is a major oversight in my opinion.
Love the house and neighborhood and parrots!
posted by hectoranddebbie on February 10th, 2009 7:45 PM
We have parrots everywhere around here. You can often hear the squawking before you see them. You will more often see several together than just one. They love the area near the playground across from the hangar, and the walking trail near Berkman and Manor road. I have seen as many as eight together at once. Keep your eyes and ears open - they are bright green! Great picture, by the way, smittyhoo!
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