DETROIT, May 26 (UPI) -- A Detroit councilwoman who has been paying taxes as if her house was a vacant lot says the mistake was the city's.
JoAnn Watson, who has frequently criticized the city for low-balling taxes on many properties, got a bill of $67.97 last year, The Detroit News reported. Neighbors with property comparable to her Tudor-style house paid $5,600 or more.
Watson said Monday that at some point after she bought the house in 1990 and before her election to the city council in 2003 the property was hit by a tornado. She said the assessment dropped sharply then.
She suggested she is the target of a "smear campaign."
"I don't smoke, drink and I don't sleep around," she said. "It's an election year."
Watson suggested the real problem is that her neighbors are paying too much, the Detroit Free Press said.
"The disparity between what I paid and what the people across the street paid is outrageous," Watson said, "As their elected representative, I'm demanding that the city repay these overcharges immediately."