Denham Springs council votes to roll forward tax rate

The City Council voted to roll forward its property tax rate for 2014 to its voter-approved maximum.

The increased tax rate of 3.725 mills will add about $10,000 per year to the city’s coffers while costing the owner of a $150,000 home less than $3 more per year, Mayor Jimmy Durbin said.

Councilman John Wascom, the lone vote against the increase, said he thought the city should look for ways to save money rather than raising taxes on its residents and businesses.

Resident Billy Haynes urged the council to keep the tax rate at 3.604 mills in light of recent increases in city utility rates.

Durbin said voters years ago approved a much higher millage than the adjusted rate of 3.604 mills, but the council repeatedly rolled back the city’s property taxes except in lean recession years.

The city distributes about 5,000 tax notices each year: 471 commercial, 707 personal property, 12 public service and 3,810 real estate, according to numbers Durbin provided.

The city’s real estate and commercial property owners would bear the brunt of the tax increase.

The total value of real estate in the city is $35.2 million, generating about $127,000 in property tax revenue under the previous rate, according to data Durbin provided. Those property owners would collectively pay an additional $4,266 under the higher tax rate adopted Tuesday.

Commercial property in the city is valued at $25.5 million and generated roughly $91,700 under the prior tax rate. Those property owners would collectively pay an additional $3,079 under the new rate.

Follow Heidi R. Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen.