Calcasieu Parish Tax Assessor Wendy Curphy Aguillard. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Thursday, December 06, 2012 11:44 PM
There are several reasons that some Calcasieu residents have seen hikes in property taxes this year, Assessor Wendy Curphy Aguillard said, addressing the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Thursday night.
Police jurors voiced concerns that they have heard from their constituents, some of whom have seen property tax increases of more than 100 percent.
Aguillard, who reminded that her office only sets property values, said previous under-assessments, as well as updated technology and updated data have resulted in the increases.
“I know people want to blame somebody, I understand that, it’s human nature, but ultimately, we’re just working toward correcting our tax rolls and making them accurate and uniform,” said Aguillard, who was elected in October.
Police Juror Nic Hunter said he would be “blunt” in stating his beliefs of why the hikes occurred.
“I think what we’re experiencing is the fallout of an office that has been far too political for far too long,” Hunter said. “You (Aguillard) entering into this position, I remember in one of your campaign commercials, you said, ‘If you want to run for politics, run for something else’ and that really registered with me. I do not think the parish should be blaming you for a lot of what’s going on right now.”
Carlyss, the neighborhood around St. Patrick’s Hospital and some neighborhoods in Sulphur, Moss Bluff and south Lake Charles have seen some of the larger increases, Aguillard said.
The state is in an assessment year, which happens every four years.
The increases in property taxes did not result in a “windfall” for the parish, because the police jury rolled back millage rates, police jury members and officials said.
“Although I know that people are somewhat frustrated, but everything that is being done is being done by law, and everything that (the police jury) is doing with the rollback, you’ve done by law and I think the important part is to explain that to citizens,” Aguillard said.
“We’re working toward a more accurate tax roll and the more accurate our tax roll is, the less people will see these kinds of issues,” Aguillard said.
Aguillard also addressed questions about whether residents had enough time to adjust to the increases.
Postcards showing assessed property values are sent out at the end of June, and property taxes are sent out by Nov. 15, Aguillard said.
The postcards state changes in property values but not approximate property taxes.
Aguillard said that it is a “possibility” to include more information on the postcards, although she expressed concerns about including approximate taxes. She said that postcards are sent rather than sealed envelopes as a cost-saving measure. She said it costs around $25,000 to send out the 65,000 postcards.
“It is a budgetary issue, but of course we want the public to be aware,” Aguillard said.
Those with questions about their property values “can come to our office at any point in time during the year,” Aguillard said.
Posted By: Davd On: 12/11/2012
Title: Fair Assessments?
I don't have a greal deal of confidence in their assessments. I purchased land in 2012 and received an assesments that was 25% higher than the purchase price. Their office was glad to adjust my assessment once I called them and argued that a market price is a lot more concrete than an assessment. What I can't figure out is how did they misjudge the value by so much when they have the same sales data to look at as I do?
Posted By: claude On: 12/7/2012
Title: Future elections
I hope the voters of Calcasieu Parish learn from this and take action, not only in the next election for tax asssessor, but when voting on future propery taxes, too. For too long the voters have voted to increase taxes because the industries paid the brunt of the taxes. Now, the taxes have fallen on the voters.
Posted By: Robert Dupuis On: 12/7/2012
Title: Where Will The Money Go!
You say no windfall! Explain how if you take in more money from most of the property owners that there will not be a windfall. I have a difficult time understanding how millage rollbacks affects this. More money from most of the property owners equals a windfall. Where will this money be spent? Someone needs to address how much additional money will be collected and where it will be spent.
Posted By: claude On: 12/7/2012
I think what we are seeing is a bureaucrat trying to correct everything she sees as a perceived wrong in her one term as boss. It may be legal, but it is so wrong!!