EBR agencies expect healthy jump in property tax revenues

Taxable assessed value rises by $125 million

Property values are on the rise in East Baton Rouge Parish, which is good news both for property owners and local governing entities collecting taxes on those values.

The total taxable assessed property value in East Baton Rouge Parish grew about $125 million to a total of $3.7 billion in 2013, said East Baton Rouge Tax Assessor Brian Wilson.

The increase from 2012 to 2013 represents 3.5 percent growth, compared to the previous year’s growth of 2 percent.

“It’s encouraging — our increases seem to be going up every year, which is a good sign,” Wilson said. “It got stagnant there with the recession, so I think things are picking up.”

Before the economy stalled in 2008, Wilson said, assessed property values in the parish used to grow 5 to 6 percent every year.

“Three and a half doesn’t sound like a lot, but a couple of years ago, it was 1 percent growth,” Wilson said.

About $419 million is due to be collected in property tax revenue for the various taxing agencies, compared to $405 million for the previous year.

Wilson said increases in new construction and home sales contribute to the increasing property values.

Bridget Fredericks, 2014 president of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, said the Baton Rouge region in 2013 had a 3 percent increase in median sales prices and a 16 percent increase in closed sales over the last year.

She said shrinking inventories have increased values, all due to increasing demand.

“As more jobs come into our area, we expect to see increased demand,” she said. “I expect this trend to continue and our housing market to get stronger moving forward.”

Higher property values also mean more money for the agencies that levy property taxes.

For example, in 2014 the Capital Area Transit System is expected to reap $16.1 million, the Sheriff’s Office will receive $55 million, the East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission will take in $52 million and the parish library system will receive $40 million.

Assessments reflect a percentage of the fair market value of a property and are used to calculate property owners’ annual ad valorem tax bill. Ad valorem taxes are those levied on assessed value of personal property or real estate.

For residences, the assessed value of a property and land is 10 percent of market value.

Property owners may view their latest assessments online at www.ebrpa.org.

Tax bills were sent out on Dec. 1, and taxes are due Tuesday .