In the months following the bombshell announcement by FEMA that the Biggert-Waters Act may raise flood insurance rates thousands of dollars on some local property owners, St. Charles Parish Assessor Tab Troxler said his office was looking at new assessments for homes that would be negatively affected.
Troxler’s original goal to present his post-Biggert-Waters assessment to parish residents was July 31, but he has now pushed that date back to Aug. 19 when he will provide a presentation of his findings to the Parish Council.
“My staff is committed to not making people pay property taxes on value that doesn’t exist,” Troxler said. “I will address the Biggert-Waters issue and what we have learned. We have been paying very close attention and I hope what I present will be agreeable to everyone.”
After the presentation the property assessment rolls will be open to property owners to view for a 15-day period from Aug. 29 to Sept. 12. During that time property owners may appeal their property assessment.
Although Troxler said he is not quite sure yet how his final announcement will pan out, he has been copiously researching different scenarios that might affect property owners in the parish. The assessor’s office is keeping an eye on the real estate market as well as taking other data into account before making their final decision on property values.
“I met with the tax commission and I have met with realtors, financial institutions, other assessors as well as our past assessor,” he said. “We’re not making this decision in a vacuum.”
The biggest part of the evaluation is the potential for increased flood insurance rates under the Biggert-Waters Act.
“This issue has the potential to have a very negative impact on this community,” he said. “I am not trying to forecast what is going on in the markets or be politically active. We just want to fairly and impartially do the job we are elected to do.”
Part of the assessment is hinging on FEMA’s official release of flood insurance rates that was originally scheduled for mid-June before finally being rescheduled to mid-August.
Troxler said with the uncertainty surrounding the release of the rates, he is prepared to make his announcement Aug. 19 with or without their release.
“We don’t believe that the maps will be released in August. If it does happen it is going to help us out. Even if doesn’t happen we have enough data,” he said.
Troxler said he anticipates some parish property owners will file appeals, but thinks he will be able to keep them to a minimum.
“I want to advise the Parish Council and tell the residents of their right to go to the board of review, which is the Parish Council,” Troxler said. “I’m hoping we don’t have a lot of appeals because what I hope to do is fairly represent everybody.”
During the properly tax roll viewing period, the assessor will extend office hours until 6 p.m. during which time residents will be invited to ask questions about their property tax assessment.