LAFAYETTE — Several public agencies in Lafayette Parish have scheduled hearings next month on whether to keep property taxes at their current levels to bring in more revenue.
Property values are estimated to be up with this year’s reassessment, and public agencies are required to reduce tax rates so that tax revenue stays at the same level it was before the higher reassessment.
But public bodies can also act to raise the tax rates back to the old level, which can bring in more revenue because the old tax rate is applied to higher property values.
Property values in the parish have gone up an average of 2 ½ percent in this year’s reassessment, Lafayette Parish Assessor Conrad Comeaux said.
It’s difficult to determine how that could affect individual taxpayers because not all property values went up across the board, with some going down and some staying the same despite the overall average increase, Comeaux said.
The tax bill also will depend on whether public agencies decide to let tax rates fall, to bring them back to old levels or to set the rates somewhere in between.
For city-parish government, keeping property taxes at the old rate could bring in about $3.1 million more than last year because of rising property assessments, helping local government keep up with growing expenses, Lafayette City-Parish Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Toups said.
“We just want to go back to the millage that we levied last year,” she said.
The $3.1 million figure includes not only taxes for the core operations of city-parish government but also for the parish library system, the Lafayette Regional Airport, the parish courthouse and the jail, according to information from Toups.
Keeping property tax rates the same for the Sheriff’s Office could bring an annual increase of about $1.5 million, and maintaining the current millages for the School Board could bring in an additional $2.5 million, according to public notices from those two agencies.
The public agencies are required to hold a public hearing on the issue.
Councils, boards and commissions with taxing authority must vote to restore the old tax rate when assessments go up.
Sheriffs, assessors and other administrators who do not answer to a board make the decision themselves but still must hold public hearings.
Here are the dates and times of the hearings for larger taxing agencies in the parish:
SHERIFF’S OFFICE: 10 a.m. on Aug. 15 at the Sheriff’s Office downtown administration building at 316 W. Main Street.
SCHOOL BOARD: 4 p.m. on Aug. 15 at the board’s office at 113 Chaplin Drive.
LAFAYETTE CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT: 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 at city-parish government’s main office at 705 W. University Ave.
ASSESSOR: 4 p.m. on Aug. 23 at the assessor’s office on the fourth floor of 1010 Lafayette St.