Property values up, and so is tax baseAug 21st, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
As many taxpayers may have noticed in reassessment letters that have gone out in the mail, property values in the parish have increased. According to Assessor Robert Gravolet’s most recent analysis, values parish-wide are up by 17 percent and the parish’s tax base has also increased by 7 percent.
Gravolet feels that since the parish’s tax base has increased, the taxing bodies— the Sheriff, Hospital, PPG, School Board, and as well as the Assessor’s Office— could roll back their millage rates and actually gain revenue this year.
For example, the 2011 millage rate for the School Board was 6.03, generating $5,471,054. According to Gravolet’s analysis, the 2012 adjusted millage rate could go down to 5.94 and the School Board could still generate $5,791,927.
Proposed reassessment value notices were mailed out to residents whose property values have changed. All assessors statewide are required to reassess all property every four years. The 2012 assessments are based on comparable sales in each zip code. Assessors were required to use the time frame between July 2010 and July 2011 to compile comparisons.
The Assessor’s rolls are open for public review for 15 days starting August 20 and ending September 5, and residents who have questions about their new property value can call or make an appointment to come to the Assessor’s office
Unlike neighboring parishes that have seen lines wrapped around buildings, it’s been business as usual at the Plaquemines Parish Assessor’s office.
“Comparing it to previous years when a reassessment was done, the number of calls have been pretty normal,” explained Gravolet.
“Most people have been very understanding, and I must commend my staff for being very professional and courteous.”
2011 Reassessment values and trends
“The highest increases were in the 70037 zip code area which is at the west bank parish line in Belle Chasse to Jesuit Bend,” Gravolet noted. “Unlike the St. Bernard flood wall effect on Braithwaite property sales, the Jesuit Bend flood wall did not have a glaring effect on home values during the time frame we are required to use.”
Commercial improvements from Engineer’s Road to Alliance showed an increase of 10 to 15 percent for improvements as well as land value adjustments ranging from $90,000 to $125,000.
Myrtle Grove Marina, Wood Park Camps, Lake Hermitage, Suzie Bayou/Deer Range and Happy Jack Camps saw value increases based on comparable sales on lots and homes. The few sales seen in Port Sulphur, Empire and Buras were mainly through the state’s Road Home program— where individuals can sell lots for fair market value and then resell at auctions for an increased price.
The Boothville-Venice areas saw more sales activity, and Gravolet says there was slight increase in land values, bringing the area back to pre-Katrina levels.
“The biggest value increases in this area were Condo Sales going from $150,000 – $175,000 post-Katrina, to $250,000,” Gravolet explained.
Braithwaite’s three subdivisions— Braithwaite Park, Treasure Heights and Bec’s Place—were adjusted as per current sales, ranging from $135,000 to $250,000.
Also on the Eastbank, the Woodland to Pointe-a-la-Hache areas are still at post-Katrina values, with most homeowners choosing to purchase mobile homes.
2012 Millage adjustments
The estimated value of reassessed taxable property for the entire parish is $907,305,869— an impressive figure considering the 2011 parish’s population was recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau as 23,628.
“From the parish property tax roll perspective, we are most fortunate and in a most enviable position in Plaquemines Parish,” Gravolet said.
For one, Plaquemines has the highest per capita tax base in the state, therefore we have one of the lowest millage rates in Louisiana.
According to the Louisiana Tax Commission’s 2011 report, Plaquemines has a 62.5 millage rate, with it’s neighbors of St. Bernard at 110.2; Jefferson at 99, New Orleans at 159.8; Lafourche at 125.6; and St. Tammany at 151.5. The statewide average is 102.3.
To put the millage rates into a dollar-perspective, a $1500 tax bill in Plaquemines Parish would be $2400 in Jefferson, $3600 in St. Tammany and $3800 in New Orleans.
Reasons to roll back
Rolling back millages keeps parish-wide taxes low which is important not only for the average household, but to entice new companies—particularly those who handle watercraft and moveable property— to set up shop in Plaquemines Parish.
“Our unique position allows us to actually levy less and bring in more revenue which attracts even more new investors and re-investors,” Gravolet affirmed. “Because of our low rate of taxes on both property and sales tax, along with our low crime rate and excellent schools, Plaquemines Parish is a great place to invest, live and raise a family.”