(The Daily Advertiser) – With thousands of Lafayette Parish homeowners reeling from the mid-August flood and many oilfield workers unemployed, local leaders are proceeding with plans to increase property taxes.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council and the Lafayette Parish School Board are hosting public hearings next week and will vote on rolling out property millage rates for 2016.
Government agencies are allowed to roll millages forward to collect the same amount of tax, or more, than the previous year so long as they don’t collect a rate higher than the maximum voters approved.
The council is expected to make millage adjustments that will mean small increases in property taxes for most.
The owner of a $200,000 home in the city of Lafayette would pay an additional $48.38 a year, while the owner of a $200,000 home in unincorporated parts of the parish would pay an additional $22.38 a year, according to Lorrie Toups, chief financial officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The proposed increases fund things like roads, drainage, recreation and police and firefighter salaries. The boards of the Lafayette Parish public library and Lafayette Regional Airport also voted to roll millages forward.
The board of one agency, the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, opted not to roll millages forward for 2016.
LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux explained, “LEDA is in the unique position to be a purely business development and attraction organization for Lafayette Parish. The LEDA Commission, representing a significant cross-section of the community, understands this is a difficult time for much of our business base.
“The board decision rolling back the millage was an appropriate sign of solidarity with our business community,” he added. “We will continue to devote our resources to our community, businesses and workforce, and we will get through this difficult time together.”
Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux said the council could consider each proposed millage individually, asking themselves if now is a good time to increase those taxes. For some, like roads and drainage, it might be a good time to roll the millages forward to generate more money for drainage in the wake of the flood and to repair roads that were damaged by standing water.
Mayor-President Joel Robideaux cautioned against rolling millages back. Because Lafayette was declared a disaster due to the flood, property will be re-assessed next year, which could result in lower assessed values and fewer property tax dollars, he said. Rolling millages back and lower assessed values would be a double-whammy to the LCG budgets.
Want to go?
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is holding a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 705 W. University Ave., on plans to roll millages forward.
The Lafayette Parish School Board is hosting a public hearing at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the school board central office 113 Chaplin Drive on plans to roll millages forward.