Calcasieu Parish Tax Assessor Wendy Aguillard. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 12:31 PM
SULPHUR — The Calcasieu Parish Tax Assessor’s Office gauges property values, but it should also take the time to explain that appraisal process to the public, the assessor told the West Calcasieu Association of Commerce on Thursday.
“I’ve discovered that a lot of people really don’t understand what we do, how we do it, and why we do it,” Wendy Aguillard, parish assessor, said. “I think it’s part of my job and my staff’s job to make sure that the public gets to know us and that they know what we do.”
The tax notices that residents receive consist of two parts — an assessed value and a millage rate, she said. The rates are set by the various taxing districts, and the tax amount is arrived at by multiplying the millage by the assessed value, Aguillard said.
“We don’t pull the values out of thin air. We have to first follow the law, and the law says that we are to discover, list and value all the property in our parish for ad valorem taxation purposes,” she said.
“We have a lot of different ways that we gather our data and then analyze that data. Then, we have to record it in list form and that’s called a tax roll — which is open for the public to inspect — and then it is sent to all the different districts in the parish.”
Taxing districts decide what their millages will be based on the value that was assessed and sent to them, she said. The tax rolls and millage rates are then sent to the Louisiana Tax Commission for approval, Aguillard said.
After that’s done, the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office — because the sheriff is the tax collector — sends out notices to property owners and later disburses money to the taxing districts, she said.
“Reassessment is important and it’s a mandate that is set forth by the state that says by law each assessor’s office has to reassess property at least every four years,” Aguillard said. “The purpose of reassessment is to bring values up to market value.”