Board votes to lower school tax rates
The decrease in the millage rate will keep most property owner’s tax rates steady. Due to variables in property assessment, the millage rate decrease will affect each taxpayer differently. However, the move by the School Board will save an overall estimated $600,000 for the parish’s homeowners, according to Jim Melohn, chief financial and administrative officer for the school district.
Melohn said had the board decided to keep the millage rates at last year’s level it would have amounted to an estimated tax increase of about $3 per every $100,000 assessed on a homestead-exempt household per year. The reduction means the owner of a $150,000 homestead-exempt home that is reassessed for the same amount this year would pay about $4.60 less.
"It’s a decrease in the rates. I’m hesitant to say it is a property tax decrease because it’s a reassessment year," Melohn said. "Since it’s a reassessment year, if a person’s assessed value increased, even though our rates have decreased, that individual owner could pay more."
Every four years the assessor’s office reassesses property values and millage rates applied to those new assessments yield different tax rates. After the reassessment, a legislative auditor calculates what the needed millage rate is to maintain the prior year’s property tax revenue.
"The government, if they so choose, can roll it back up to the prior year and increase their revenue and I think several of the local ones did that," Melohn said. "Our board chose not to do that. They chose to go ahead and go with the reduced rates."
In contrast to the assessment procedure for homeowners, industry property is reassessed on a yearly basis and makes up for the bulk of the parish’s property tax base.
"The homeowners are actually only roughly 12 percent of the total assessed value," Melohn said. "Most of that revenue comes from industry."
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