By Bob Anderson
Florida Parishes bureau
June 19, 2012
LIVINGSTON — The value of taxable property in Livingston Parish has risen almost 23 percent since 2008, which was the last reassessment year, according to preliminary figures from the Livingston Parish Assessor’s Office.
Most homes and businesses that existed three years ago haven’t had their assessments changed during that period, but the biggest part of the increase was the addition of new homes and businesses. Those have been added to the tax rolls each year, Assessor Jeff Taylor said.
Because of the yearly additions of new buildings, the taxable value of property in the parish only rose about 3.75 percent this year, when compared with last year, officials with the Assessor’s Office said.
How much tax each home or business owner will owe won’t be determined until the more than 40 governmental agencies that have property taxes in the parish adjust their millages during public meetings over the next few months.
People concerned about how much property tax they pay should attend those meetings, the assessor said.
Taylor said he is encouraging taxing agencies to either reduce their millages because of the increase in taxable value of property or to be prepared to show the public why millages need to remain the same.
Under current millage rates, people with a home valued at $175,000 would pay an average of about $1,300 a year in taxes if they have a homestead exemption, Taylor said.
That amount, which is based on an average of 130 mills in taxes, will vary from area to area depending on the millages of individual municipalities, fire districts and drainage boards, he said.
At a meeting of the Parish Council’s Finance Committee on Thursday night, the Sheriff’s Office agreed to list the amount of taxes going to each of the various agencies when it sends out tax bills this year.
Finance Committee Chairman Marshall Harris said that will provide taxpayers with a better idea of where their property tax money is going.
For some homeowners, tax bills probably will go down, but for others they will go up, Taylor said.
Between 12,000 and 13,000 residents will get letters indicating that their assessment has gone up by more than 15 percent, Taylor said, adding that the parish has about 43,000 homes.
Values of property in some areas went up, and they went down in other areas since the 2008 assessment, he said.
“People talk about how the economy has caused the bottom to drop out” of property values, Taylor said.
“We are finding that is simply not the case,” he said, because some property values have increased.
In doing its reassessments, the Assessor’s Office reported it also has updated or corrected a lot of information, including square footage of homes.
The office also found rental homes that improperly had homestead exemptions on them, Taylor said.
Under homestead exemptions, the first $75,000 of the value of a homeowner’s primary residence is not taxable.
The total assessed value of property in the parish for 2012 is $672 million, but property is assessed at only a small percentage of its actual value. For instance, assessors are supposed to value homes at 10 percent of their real market value.
In 2008, the last time all property in the parish was reassessed, the total assessed value was $570 million. This year’s taxable value, which does not include the portions that are homestead exempt, is $446 million, compared with $363 million in 2008.
This year’s values will change to some extent, Deputy Assessor Patty Harrison said. Some people who have never filed for homestead exemption will do so, she said.
Harrison said changes will also come as the parish gets updated values on public service property, which includes pipeline, railways, fiber optics and power lines.