17 November 2009
From the nearly the beginning of my stay here, I have been wondering why all the rebar is left sticking out of the roofs of houses and other structures. These photos are some that I took of adjoining roofs from the roof of Stephen's house. I have an answer to this question now. If rebar is left sticking out like this, the house is considered “unfinished” or “under construction.” The owner then pays less in real estate taxes or in some cases no real estate taxes, depending.
This reminds me of the old tax dodge of colonial times in New Orleans. Apparently, real estate taxes were calculated then in part based upon the number of windows in a house. Voila! Windows were then constructed from the floor up and magically became “doors” instead. One can still see the results of this tax structure in the French Quarter today. Many homes have no windows at all. Only “doors.”
These tanks on the roofs of the homes are water tanks or reservoirs. The water from the city feeds directly into these reservoirs. The water then flows down into the piping of the house. Most modest homes have only water pressure resulting from gravity. More expensive homes usually still have these reservoirs, but the water pressure is enhanced with an adjunct pump.