Four governmental bodies in Livingston Parish have elected to keep their property tax millages the same, while about two dozen others are preparing to hold meetings on their millage rates.
Because the amount of taxable property on the tax rolls is rising, districts generally will take in more money if they keep their rates the same as last year, Assessor Jeff Taylor said.
The value of taxable property has risen more than 4 percent in Livingston Parish this year, mainly as a result of new homes and businesses, and finding property that wasn’t previously on the tax rolls, he said.
“With the increasing and steady growth in Livingston Parish, and the discovery of properties not currently on the tax roll, the taxable value has increased every year for the last decade,” Taylor said.
“When the taxable value increases,” agencies can lower their millage rates and still generate the same revenue as the previous year, the assessor said.
So far, the four agencies that have acted on their millage rates have all kept them the same rather than lowering them, according to records from the Assessor’s Office.
At least 11 other agencies have set dates for pubic hearings on their millages rates. Some of those won’t hold public hearings until September. Other agencies still need to set hearings.
The hearing dates have to be advertised twice with a waiting period of 30 days before the hearing is held, Taylor said.
“Each taxing district is required to hold a public meeting every year for the purpose of setting millage rates for the current tax year,” he said.
The Assessor’s Office is scheduled to send out tax notices on Nov. 1 based on the newly set millages.
Taylor said his office has sent letters to all of the taxing bodies, asking them to come to the office to see how much they can cut their millages and still obtain the same income as last year.
Taylor said he also provides them with information on how much they can cut their millage and still get the same income as last year, plus a cost-of-living increase.
“We lay all of the scenarios out for them,” he said.
Of the four agencies that have chosen to keep their millages the same, three are volunteer fire departments.
Volunteer fire departments in Livingston Parish are hurting financially because of fuel and equipment costs, population growth and lack of grant funds, said Mark Benton, director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness for the parish.
The cost of making emergency medical calls has risen because of the increases in both fuel costs and population, he said.
Benton said in the past his office has been able to help those departments with state and federal grants, but grant money has gotten scarce.
Fire District 4 has kept its property tax rate at 10 mills; Fire District 8 has kept is rate at 16.63 mills; Fire District 11 has kept its rate at 10 mills; and the Amite River Basin Commission has kept its property tax for the Comite River Diversion Project at 2.65 mills.
The director of the ARBC couldn’t be reached late Monday for comment.
At 6 p.m. on July 12 the town of Killian will hold a hearing on its millage.
On July 13 at 4 p.m. the Livingston Parish Library will hold a hearing on its millage.
On July 14, the Livingston Parish Council will hold a hearing on its millages at 6 p.m.
The town of Walker will hold its hearing at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12.
Fire District No. 1 will hold its hearing at 4 p.m. on Sept. 19.