NEW IBERIA — Assessor Ricky Huval told the Iberia Parish School Board on Wednesday that property value assessments dropped $10.7 million, which could cost the School Board $150,000 in tax revenue.
Huval placed blame on last year’s six-month moratorium on offshore drilling, which the Obama administration imposed May 30, 2010, following the BP rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Since then, Huval said oilfield business activity has dropped significantly in the parish. He said as an example that $8.5 million worth of oil rig property and $5 million worth of helicopter property left the parish since the moratorium started.
The news was not all bad, Huval said. Other areas of property value assessment rose such as residential home values, he said.
In order to maintain current property tax revenue, the millage rate would have to be raised from 10.7 mills to 10.93, Huval said. He added that calculates as a 57 cent rise on current taxes for a person owning a home valued at $100,000 with Louisiana’s homestead exemption.
Board member Robbie LeBlanc asked what the increase would be for a business.
Huval said he wasn’t sure, but it would be much higher.
“Everyone will be affected,” Huval said.
The board will have to pass a resolution rescinding an earlier vote that set the property tax rate, Huval said. The board will then have to pass a new resolution to raise the rate should they choose to do so, he said.
Superintendent Dale Henderson said his office will research the matter and calculate the exact amount of revenue the district will lose. Then Central Office staff will present the information to the board at the Sept. 21 meeting so the members can decide whether to raise the rate or not, he said.
Other items discussed during the meeting included:
FUEL COSTS: Iberia Parish Bus Drivers Association spokesman Roger Duncan asked the School Board for either a pay raise or more money to cover the fuel costs for one-way stops. More than 60 drivers attended the meeting.
Duncan, who is a bus driver and a member of the Iberia Parish Council, said bus drivers who own their buses do not pay for what’s called dead miles or one-way routes. One way routes are fuel costs the parish does not pay until the first student is picked up.
Duncan owns his school bus.
Duncan said some drivers who own their buses travel more than 10 miles a day from their homes before they pick up their first student. He said the cost adds up. He added that drivers who lease buses to the parish have this one-way route fuel cost covered, and the drivers who own their buses only want what’s fair.
Leblanc told Duncan that in order for the board to vote on his request, a board member will have to place it on the agenda. Duncan said he hopes someone will support drivers’ cost and put the item on the agenda for the next meeting.