Aguillard outlines reasons for property tax hikes

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

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.