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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Lafourche school property taxes to increase for many

Lafourche school property taxes to increase for many

The Lafourche Parish School Board unanimously voted to roll forward the property tax rates during its meeting Wednesday night, effectively raising the amount many property owners will pay.

The school district will now collect an estimated $45.9 million, an estimated $2 million increase.

“It looks like we’re going to receive more money, however, there may be changes such as with some of these offshore vessels where when we actually go to apply those rates we may end up having less taxable assessment than more,” School District Business Manager Don Gaudet said.

The board will now collect 41.88 mills. A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of taxable property owned.

No one from the public commented during the public hearing. Board members Brooke Huddleston and C. Joey Duplantis were absent.

In March board members approved plans to cut $3.5 million from portions of this year’s and next year’s budgets, while also approving a measure asking state lawmakers to give them the go-ahead to ask for a sales tax increase within the next two years.

Board officials are preparing to deal with at least $3 million in cuts from reduced sales tax collections.

Under the budget reduction plan that was approved in March, the district will freeze new hires and unnecessary out-of-state travel; reduce stipends for evaluations, support attendance and professional attendance; reduce personnel expenditures; and cut from school allotments, child nutrition and the maintenance budget.

The state constitution requires parish tax assessors reappraise residential and commercial property every four years. This was that fourth year. Property value is based on recent nearby sales.

State law gives the public boards and officials a choice:

- Hold a public hearing and roll the rate back even further to take less money from taxpayers.

- Forgo a public hearing and keep the "rolled-back" tax rate, so the districts they oversee collect the same amount of money as the year before.

- Hold a public hearing and "roll forward" the rates, or millages, and keep the windfall to help pay for public services.

Daily Comet Staff Writer Emma Discher can be reached at 448-7636 or Follow her on Twitter @emmadischer.