Life seemed to stand still on August 29th, 2017. Or maybe life was going in reverse. Harvey's unrelenting fury essentially un-doing years of hard work while destroying priceless memories in a flash.
As Southeast Texans work to pick up the pieces and build a new life, many aspects of day-to-day life have not adjusted their speed; even for those hurting still today.
One of the certainties in life, as Benjamin Franklin can attest, taxes are still due.
Harvey is impacting property taxes along with the value of your home.
Luicy Jones is one of many homeowners who survived the Harvey nightmare.
Five decades of memories at her Port Arthur home; however, did not make it.
"The water just rushed in and hit my back door, knocked it open," said Jones. "The water came with such a force and by the time we did get out of the house, it was halfway up (my waist)."
Jones says it was heartbreaking to see her home on Terrace Avenue in ruins after the flood.
"When they did let us come back in and when I walked in my house, all I could say was oh my God," said Jones.
While her house is still unlivable months after the storm, Jones' property taxes are the same, for now.
Her home was appraised in January. What it was worth then, determined her tax payments now. Next year, she could see her tax bill reflect the Harvey damage.
"For any property owner who had Harvey damage, they need to make sure come January 1, that they take pictures of the damage that still exists," said Jefferson County Chief Appraiser Angela Bellard. "Whatever damage you still have January 1st, that will come into play for their value for the entire year."
Homeowners are receiving letters from the Jefferson County Tax Appraisal district in December explaining how it is crucial to report indoor damage.
"It is going to be up to the property owner to notify us. When we do inspections, we do drive-bys. We have to make the assumption that the inside is how we see it on the outside," said Bellard. "So we do not get to go inside so it's going to be very important for the property owners to get that information to us after January 1st so that their numbers will reflect what damage still exists."
A lot of Jones' neighbors will be filling out the damage report. Damage can clearly be seen the damage to many homes in the El Vista Village neighborhood.
"I'm anticipating values to go down for 2018," said Bellard. "A lot of entities, especially the Port Arthur area, Bevil Oaks area, you're going to see their numbers decrease for 2018 and for 2019, of course, will depend on how much is put back and who puts back. I know some people are walking away from their homes so of course, that's going to impact the values in those areas."
The value is determined by how much someone would pay for the property. Bellard says flood maps drawn up by FEMA are not consulted to determine value. In some cases, they've indirectly affected taxes, if there is a change in sales prices.
"It happened in Orange County where flood insurance was very expensive. Yes, that could impact sales because a lot of homeowners are going to look at that, and decide is it worth paying that much for flood insurance for this property and it could impact the amount that they get for it," said Bellard.
While property owners could be relieved to see a break on their property taxes next year, that means less income for cities. Less income means stretching out budgets.
"Police, Fire, Cities, educating kids, that goes on no matter what tragedy befalls anyone," said Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector Allison Nathan Getz. "You can imagine how terrible that would be for the jurisdictions if everyone just said 'hey, I had damage I can't pay my taxes,' we'd all shut down."
Getz is in charge of collecting the taxes for Jefferson County. She explains that the local refineries should help keep the tax base stable.
"I'm not terribly concerned but it could impact us somewhat," said Getz.
Jones says city projects may stall as Port Arthur's tax income is adjusted. She just asks city leaders to take hurting homeowners into account before even considering any tax hikes.
The Jefferson County Tax Office has a number of programs to help those impacted by Harvey.
Getz encourages anyone having issues to call and discuss payment plans and applicable exemptions.