Reassessment, a procedure state government requires every four years, may have come at the right time for Iberville Parish, Assessor Randy Sexton said Monday.
Assessment on real property did not show much of an increase for most of the parish, but widespread residential growth in the St. Gabriel area – now the population leader among Iberville Parish municipalities – and expiration of a 10-year exemption for Shintech’s Plaquemine plant have brought a boost in property tax revenue for the parish.
Property tax collection increased from $11 million from 2018 to 2019, and just over $9 million in 2020.
Ad valorem tax revenue accounts for 25 percent of the parish’s annual budget, but it may still take some of the sting out of possible shortfalls due to COVID-19, Sexton said.
“At the same time, I’m more than likely going to get people questioning values, especially those whose businesses had been closed down, and we don’t even know the opening dates yet,” he said. “We’ve got to work with whomever we can work with and see how we can help them.”
Expiration of the 10-year tax exemption for Shintech puts all parish entities in a better financial situation, Sexton said.
“It’s been a blessing in disguise … a lucky timing situation when it happened, and the extra revenue is going to be appreciated when we see what happens when all is said and done,” he said.
Reassessment had already been completed before the quarantines changed daily operations for all public entities and many from the private sector.
The figures had been approved by the Louisiana Tax Commission – something some other parishes have not yet implemented.
About 50 percent of the state’s assessors had already completed reassessments, which may need to delay the process.
“Some parishes in the northern part of the state really need the reassessment because they don’t have any other revenue,” Sexton said. “We’ve been very lucky because being a river parish puts us in good shape financially,”
It’s not the only way that timing fell on his office’s side.
He had taken steps to form a satellite office in St. Gabriel, which would operate once a month. The process was coming about when he and his employees had to begin working from home during the COVID-19 quarantine.
“We lucked up pretty well,” Sexton said. “We had recently had two laptops programmed with all the information from the office, and we had the satellite office ready to go when this all happened.
“Yes, it’s been a bad situation, but we’ve been able to deal with it.”