GONZALES — The Ascension Parish Council levied property tax rates for the 2015 tax year and kept them at their maximum level in the last year before the quadrennial reassessment in 2016.
The decision, on a 7-0 vote, means parish government property tax rates remain unchanged from 2014. The vote also preserves the maximum property tax level set by the state constitution or approved by voters for parish government’s variety of parishwide and special taxing districts.
The vote also ensures any incremental increases in assessed values from growth this year will translate into additional revenue, though officials are not expecting much in a nonreassessment year.
Gwen LeBlanc, parish chief financial officer, did not have an estimate yet for the 2015 tax year, as it is too early for the new assessment figures. Millage rates are applied to assessed values determined by the parish Assessor’s Office to create property owners’ tax bills.
According to the Assessor’s Office, the millage rates generated a combined $29.3 million in 2014 for parish government. That figure represents a 25 percent increase over the last reassessment year, in 2012, when parish government took in a combined nearly $23.5 million.
However, viewing parish government’s total property tax collections as one figure can be misleading. Through the years, voters have earmarked the proceeds from several property taxes, sending the tax revenues into dedicated funds for libraries, street lights, east and west bank drainage, Prairieville firefighters, the parish Council on Aging, mental health and other functions.
Meanwhile, some major infrastructure needs like roads or sewer do not have dedicated property taxes. Of the total property tax collections, millage rates in 2014 generated about $3 million that went into the parish general fund, which can be used for any purpose.
The parish millage rates play a part in residents’ tax bills, which go out at the end of year and are due Dec. 31.
Justin Champlin, chief deputy assessor, said in an interview that, on average, most residents are levied 107.5 mills once the parish School Board, Sheriff’s Office and other taxing jurisdiction are included. But he said rates can range from 102.55 mills to as much as 125 mills, depending on the section of the parish.
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