While there were no surprise entrants into the Livingston Parish president’s race, Assessor Jeff Taylor will have an unexpected challenger after local businessman Corey Delahoussaye qualified to run.
Taylor, who said as recently as July that he hoped to run unopposed, also will face a challenge from retired AT&T technician Richard Eppinette.
Eppinette ran in 2007, getting 3 percent, or just over 1,000 votes.
This is Delahoussaye’s first political race, but he is no stranger to Livingston Parish politics.
Delahoussaye’s firm, C-Del Inc., has been at the center of a long-running controversy between the Parish Council and Parish President Mike Grimmer over debris cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.
C-Del was engaged to resolve wetland permit and mitigation issues lingering from the cleanup effort after the 2008 hurricane.
But on Aug. 27, the parish council voted 5-4 to terminate the C-Del contract.
At the time Councilman Jimmie McCoy said C-Del had billed the parish for $1.9 million of work performed.
Delahoussaye said his decision to run was based on what he saw as inconsistent assessments for properties in the parish.
“We need to look at trailer parks and subdivisions and assess them fairly,” he said. “If we had assessments based on sales, it would lower costs.”
He also said the Assessor’s Office is not up-to-date with what other parishes are doing.
“I don’t think they are utilizing proper tools to analyze properties,” he said. “I think we need to bring this parish current with everyone else.”
Delahoussaye also said the parish has no current mapping systems in place, something he would change if elected.
“There are firms around here that could do it,” he said.
Incumbent Jeff Taylor said the mapping had been contracted out to Geographic Computer Technologies.
Taylor said Delahoussaye was upset because he wanted to do the mapping work.
“Obviously, $1.8 million from our parish was not enough for Mr. Delahoussaye, and he wanted to do something else that he was not qualified for and I told him no,” Taylor said.
Delahoussaye is widely viewed as an ally of Parish President Mike Grimmer, but he denied that had a role in his decision.
“I am not doing this for Mike Grimmer,” he said. “We don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.”
The third candidate in the race, Richard Eppinette, said he wants to bring a personal touch back to the Assessor’s Office.
“I would like a more one-to-one basis,” he said. “You are just a number, you are not even a person anymore.”
Specifically, Eppinette said he would consider opening the Assessor’s Office six days a week instead of five and have times where people can come in without an appointment.