Sorrento to join in aerial search for untaxed properties

The Town Council decided Tuesday to give $2,000 to the Ascension Parish Assessor’s Office to help pay for aerial photography technology designed to help identify unmarked and untaxed properties in the parish.

“We’ve agreed to pay $2,000 as our share of the imaging,” Mayor Mike Lambert told council members.

Council members Patti Poche, Randy Anny, Marvin Martin, Don Schexnaydre and Wanda Bourgeois supported the project and agreed to send a check, to be issued in January, to the Ascension Parish Assessor’s Office Project Fund.

Parish Assessor M.J. “Mert” Smiley Jr. told the council at its last meeting that the aerial photography technology would turn a six-year project using on-the-ground employees into one that could be completed by next summer and net the town of Sorrento $8,749 in additional property tax revenue during just the first year.

The parish School Board and Sheriff’s Office are among other governing bodies expected to donate money toward funding the project as well, Smiley has said.

Other issues considered during the meeting included:

STRAY ANIMALS: The council voted 5-0 in favor of an agreement with Ascension Parish government covering impoundment of stray animals.

According to the agreement, the town will pay the parish $175 for each town animal dropped off at the parish animal control shelter.

The town will pay the parish $225 per animal if it is picked up by animal control personnel in Sorrento, the agreement said.

PAY RATES: The council voted 5-0 to set the town clerk’s salary at $36,028 per year.

The council agreed by another 5-0 vote to accept an engagement letter setting the rates of town attorney Matthew Percy at $150 per hour; any associate attorney with Percy, Lanoux, Mumphrey & Martin at $125 per hour; any law clerk at $75 per hour; and any paralegal at $50 per hour.