Longtime Plaquemines Parish Assessor Bobby Gravolet to retire in 2016 after 9 terms _lowres

Plaquemines Parish Assessor

Plaquemines Parish Assessor Bobby Gravolet, one of the longest-serving politicians in the New Orleans metro area and possibly the longest-serving assessor in Louisiana, announced Friday that he will retire when his ninth term expires next year.

By then, Gravolet will have served 36 years in office and worked with at least nine parish presidents, according to a news release he sent out Friday. His term expires Dec. 31, 2016.

Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams said he believes Gravolet is the longest-tenured of the state’s 64 elected assessors after the retirement two years ago of St. Charles Parish Assessor Clyde “Rock” Gisclair, who held office 40 years.

As the assessor for the parish that has consistently had the most drilling activity in the state, Gravolet served for most of his tenure as chairman of the Louisiana Assessors’ Association oil and gas committee.

In that role, Gravolet said he sought to ensure that the energy industry paid its fair share, along with everyone else. “Deferential treatment to any class of property unfairly shifts the tax burden to all other taxpayers,” he said in a statement. “The system works best when everyone pays their fair share.”

In large part because of its plethora of pipelines, rigs and other energy-related equipment, Plaquemines Parish has the fourth-lowest property tax rate in the state. Its parishwide rate is 65.53 mills, according to the Tax Commission.

Getting the oil and gas industry to pay its share was an uphill battle at times, Williams said.

“In many cases, the provisions were in favor of the oil and gas guys, not the way it should be,” Williams said, and Gravolet fought with the Tax Commission, which oversees assessors, to change some rulings that were too favorable to the energy business.

“Bobby was always the lead person on oil and gas,” Williams said. “We’ll miss him.”