Assessments up in Acadia
Assessments are up and so is the number of people paying ad valorem taxes, Acadia Parish Tax Assessor James “Jimbo” Petitjean told police jurors during the regular September meeting.
“The more people paying taxes, the less each person has to pay,” he explained.
The total dollar amount of the list of assessments as certified is $346,339,929, according to Petitjean.
“The total dollar amount does not include the public utilities — which are assessed by the state Tax Commission — but it does include adjudicated properties,” he said.
Using a Power Point presentation, Petitjean outlined a number of interesting statistics concerning Acadia Parish.
He noted that the total assessed value of all properties in the parish for 2019 is $402,278,345, up 4.55 percent from last year’s $384,759,698.
Petitjean explained that the total value takes into account public service assessments but backs out homestead exemption and some other exemptions.
In the eight years that Petitjean has been in office, the total assessed value has risen to its current figure from $295,378,020, an increase of 35 percent.
This year there are 36,175 taxpayers in the parish, up from 35,490 last year, an increase of 1.93 percent.
Those figures have continued to climb every year since 2012, when the total number of taxpayers stood at 31,503, according to Petitjean.
The number of taxpayers claiming homestead exemption dropped by 336, from 17,117 last year to 16,781 this year, a decrease of 1.96 percent.
“The reason for that is not because fewer people are buying houses,” Petitjean said. “It’s because we have a staff that does a good job of record keeping.”
The assessor told jurors that, during the last session, some legislators wanted to hire a firm to look into the homestead exemption claims in the state. The Tax Assessors Association opposed the plan.
“But what we did, Acadia and four other parishes beat the state to the punch, because it’s going to come back up,” Petitjean said. “We hired our own study. I just think the people of Acadia Parish have a better chance of getting a fair shake with our office than with the state.”
The number of taxpayers claiming homestead exemption in Acadia Parish is the lowest it has been since Petitjean took office in 2012.
Other statistics the assessor noted during the presentation included:
• Total parcels are up 0.92 percent to 42,223 this year from 41,837 last year. That total represents an 8 percent increase since 2012.
• Total taxable items increased by 233 to 78,739 this year from 78,506 last year, an increase of 0.03 percent. That figure has jumped by more than 6,000 since 2012, up 8.58 percent.
• Total number of notices sent in 2019 was 35,867, up 1.93 percent from 2018’s total of 35,189.
Petitjean explained that the reason fewer notices are sent than the total number of taxpayers is that “a notice to a single taxpayer might include numerous parcels. Instead of sending a notice for each parcel, most taxpayers want just one notice.”
In a related matter, the police jury, on the recommendation of Petitjean, denied the appeal of Perdido Energy Louisiana, LLC, who is protesting its 2019 ad valorem tax liability in connection with the oil and gas properties in the parish.
Petitjean’s office determined the fair market value of Perdido’s property at $488,400. The company requested a fair market valuation of $94,520.