Millage changes have little impact

Parish rolls back sewer bonds, everything else stays the same

August 24, 2009 at 11:49 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The St. Charles Parish Council voted to reduce property taxes by .03 mills, a move that is expected to generate about $25.7 million in 2010 for the parish government. Of that money, around $3.1 million will go into the general fund, while the rest goes towards services such as recreation, road maintenance and the library system.

An ordinance introduced by Councilman Dennis Nuss to reduce millage rates to pre-Katrina levels was removed from the agenda after the council made an earlier decision to keep the tax rate similar to 2008. In 2004, the value of a mill was close to $760,000. Now that the value of the parish’s taxable property is estimated to rise to just over $1 billion this year, a mill generates around $1 million.

Another ordinance, which would have rolled taxes forward, also failed. That ordinance would have given the parish about $438,326 of additional revenue this year.

Representatives from the fire departments, the community health center, the library, E-911 and the Council on Aging all showed up at the meeting and urged the council to vote against Nuss' millage decrease. However, Oliver Dufrene, the president of the St. Charles Firemen’s Association, and Ellis Alexander, who is chairman of the Council on Aging, asked for slight increases.

Dufrene said that all nine fire departments’ operating costs have increased dramatically since 2005 and that the departments could use an increase of .04 mills, which would generate around $39,000 of additional revenue to fire services. Alexander said that the Council on Aging will end 2009 with a deficit and was likely to do so again in 2010. He asked for an increase of .01 mills, which would equate to around $9,740.

Several council members wanted to give those two services the extra money they asked for and Councilman Marcus Lambert even introduced a motion to remove .05 mills from the general fund and use it for fire protection and the Council on Aging. But because the council had already voted to keep the millage rates the same in an earlier ordinance, they were not allowed to reduce the amount that goes towards the general fund.

Lambert did tell both Dufrene and Alexander that come budget time, the council would give those departments additional revenue.

Along with the parish, whose property tax rate dropped from 26.43 mills to 26.40 mills due to the ordinance, the School Board also decided to reduce property taxes. The schools tax rate fell by half of mill, from 56.87 mills to 56.37 mills.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne plans to keep his property tax rate at 21.22 mills, which is the same level as last year.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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