Immediately following Hurricane Ida, the St. Charles Parish Assessor’s Office commissioned aerial photography of the parish to assist with damage assessment.
It was the first step, St. Charles Parish Assessor Tab Troxler said, in a complete reassessment of all personal and business properties within the parish.
“There is significant damage across the entire parish, varying greatly from minor to a total loss,” Troxler said. “It will be a challenge for us to complete this task, however, we are being assisted by various assessor’s offices from other parts of the state. We want this process to be easy and with the least amount of red tape as possible. I’m doing this the way I’d want it done for me as a resident.”
Troxler said his office is using technology, aerial photography and field workers to reassess property values. The lower values will mean less taxes due for home and business owners.
“This process is allowing us to complete area assessments more efficiently and reduce the burden for property owners,” he said, adding the post-storm reassessment is similar to a regular reassessment process done at four-year intervals as per state law. “There is no need for residents to contact the assessor’s office at this time while reassessments are still being determined. If more information is needed from a homeowner or business owner during this process, a representative from the assessor’s office will reach out.”
In addition to aerial photography, the entire parish has been photographed from the street using a 360 vehicle camera. Troxler said field crews have already completed initial assessments of businesses.
“With the exception of Grand Isle and Lafitte, our property owners suffered far worst damage then in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes in general,” he said. “Not only in the destructiveness, but also in terms of sheer numbers. As such, we need to reassess all properties to determine the extent of damages. Due to the varying degree of damage from property to property, a single reduction would not be fair.”
Troxler said his office will use a five-tier system – with a rating of one indicating minimal damage and score of five signifying a complete tear down – to categorize damages and reduce values accordingly. Once reassessments are completed, they will be posted online and available in the assessor’s office for review by residents.
“We have 20,000 plus properties to review, which we hope to complete by the beginning of November,” he said. “At that time property owners will be able to view the changes we made to their property assessment by visiting us online. We feel the vast majority will agree with our findings and will not need to do anything further. Like many others, I personally have suffered extensive damage to my home and the last thing I need is another form to fill out or another line to stand in.”
Troxler said residents who feel the assessor’s office did not quite capture all damages will then be encouraged to contact the office for further review.
“The goal is to remove the burden from residents at this time when most are busy dealing heavily with insurance companies and/or FEMA,” he said. “I can promise you it will be good but it will not be perfect. I think 98 percent … maybe even 99 percent … of folks will see their reassessment and be very comfortable.”
Troxler said the expedited reassessment process means that his office has about 8 weeks to do a job that is normally done in 8 months.
“Typically tax bills are due by December 31 … but because of the work that has to be done and timing the taxes due will likely have to be pushed back into sometime in the first quarter of 2022,” he said “That’s a huge decision.”
Nothing is set in stone on that matter yet, Troxler said, adding that the many public entities that rely on property tax dollars would be greatly affected by an extension for home and business owners.
Residents and business owners can now search and download aerial imagery captured post-Ida and see all other updates related to post-Ida reassessment at https://stcharlesassessor.com/category/hurricane-ida/.