- Associated Press - Monday, August 18, 2014

GONZALES, La. (AP) - Knowledge is power - and, in Ascension Parish, it apparently also means a lot more tax revenue for local government.

With a trove of new data collected earlier this year through an aerial imagery project, new electronically submitted building permits and an updated website, Ascension Parish Assessor M.J. Smiley Jr. is adding existing, unreported properties onto the tax rolls.

Tax bills won’t go out until later this year, but preliminary figures show the total taxable assessed value in Ascension - the assessed value minus items like homestead exemptions - increased 10.7 percent between 2013 and 2014, from $1.04 billion to nearly $1.15 billion.

Smiley tells The Advocate (https://bit.ly/VyU6Yb ) the projected increase is estimated to mean about $11.5 million in additional tax revenue for the parish school board, Sheriff Jeff Wiley and other local governments.

After assessment notices went out early last week, Smiley started the “open book” period Friday for the 2014 tax roll. Property owners can review their assessments on the office’s upgraded website and discuss them with his staff. The period ends Aug. 29.

Smiley, a former two-term Republican legislator who took a tough line on taxes in the House, said Thursday that some calls have started to come about the 2014 tax rolls.

“We treated everybody fairly and equitably. It’s only fair to the 85 percent that have been paying, that the 15 percent that were not on the books (now) pay their fair share. That’s as simple as I can put it, but they will be treated fairly and equitably,” Smiley said.

Smiley said he first created a “sections program” to estimate how much property was not on the books. The program found about 14 percent to 17 percent of the property was not on the books.

He attributed the past data problems to a lack of manpower. Smiley and his chief deputy, Justin Champlin said the assessor’s office had received a stack of paper building permits from the parish once a year. Smiley said limited staff had to track down improvements reflected in each permit but would fall a little behind each year.

Smiley said his office has reached an agreement with parish government to receive permits electronically and continuously, so the assessor’s office won’t fall behind again.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide