Twenty Acadiana businesses seeks millions off tax assessments

Twenty Acadiana businesses, mostly national chains, are seeking lower property assessments that will cut by hundreds of thousands of dollars the taxes they pay for police and fire services and schools in Lafayette Parish.

“If I cut their values, somebody’s got to pick up the slack and that means local residents pick up the slack for these big companies,” Lafayette Parish Assessor Conrad Comeaux told The Daily Advertiser on Monday.

Home Depot, AutoZone, Chick-fil-A, Journeys shoes, University House apartments and Cased Hole Well Service are appealing the assessed values calculated for their properties in Lafayette Parish by the assessor’s office. The appeals will be heard Tuesday by the Lafayette City-Parish Council.

The difference between the assessed value assigned by the assessor’s office and the reassessment requested on the 20 businesses totals about $7 million.

Home Depot is seeking more than $4 million in reduced assessments on three stores: $1.5 million less on the St. Nazaire Road store, $1.8 million less on the Ambassador Caffery store and $946,000 less on the Evangeline Thruway store.

Comeaux said tax representatives contact major companies like these and offer to protest their assessed values. If the assessment is reduced, the company gets a tax break and the tax representative keeps a percentage of what it saves the company.

“I refer to them as carpet baggers,” Comeaux said. “They come into Louisiana and try to buffalo or scare us into reducing the tax burden of these big companies. I’ll be doggone if I’m going to let these major companies get a break when our local people don’t.

“Everybody’s got to pay their fair share,” he said.

Comeaux said the Home Depot tax rep said the Northside store’s building should be depreciated by 73 percent since last year.

“Nothing has changed since last year. They’re coming in here trying to take money away from our schools, our police and fire, so those companies can benefit,” he said. “I fight all of these things.”

The council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 705 W. University Ave.

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