Parish property tax bills show increase in 2008

Deidre Cruse

Overall Iberville Parish property tax bill increased by a third this year, according to 2008 property tax information released last week by Assessor James H. “Jimmy” Dupont’s office.

Property owners will get their individual news in the tax notices expected to go out this week from the Iberville Sheriff’s Office’s tax department.

The parishwide tax bill has gone up from $34.4 million in 2007 to nearly $45.7 this year, an increase

This year, the parish will send out 11,362 tax notices, an increase of 346 over 2007.

The parish has 7,945 homesteads this year, an increase of 72. Because of increasing housing values, the homestead exemption will fully cover somewhat fewer of them: The $75,000 exemption will cover the property parish property taxes of 4,707 homeowners, 438 fewer than last year.

With their huge investments here, local industry bears the brunt of the tax burden here.

Most of overall increase in property taxes will go to the Iberville Parish School Board, which is levying a new 31-mill tax that is expected to produce an additional $10 million this year. The School Board, which relies on property taxes more than other local government bodies, can expect a total nearly $26 million.

The new millage was approved last February at a tax election, in which only a third of the parish’s registered voters participated. Half the money from the new millage is dedicated to school employees’ salaries, making local teachers among the best paid in the state, and half is dedicated to building two new schools to house the east- and westside Math, Science and Arts Academies and to pay for new school equipment.

Earlier this year, Dupont’s office conducted the required four-year reassessment of all property in the parish. Total assessments went up from $454.6 million to $401.2 million, an increase of nearly $53.4 million.

Local taxing bodies set their own rates annually. Nearly all of them “rolled back” their property tax millages, so as not to capture additional funds that could have come with the increase in assessments.

Sheriff Brent Allain chose to maintain his assessment at 22 mills. The decision will mean an increase in property tax support for his office from $8.8 million to $10, an increase of $1.17 million.

The School Board had 11 mills from a 20-year tax for school construction go off the books this year, and rolled back all its other taxes.

Last year, the board levied 39.27 million in property taxes, which yielded $15.75 million. This year, the board’s tax rate if 56.66 mills is expected to yield $25.75 million, which Dupont showed as a 63.48 percent increase parishwide.

Other millages apply only in specific taxing districts.

The Iberville Parish Council, for example, has 1.09 mills in municipalities and 2.18 mills in unincorporated areas. The rolled back millage rate is down from 1.24 mills in incorporated areas and 2.49 mills in unincorporated areas. The parish taxes should produce some $783,400 this year, an increase of nearly $3,500 over 2007.

The City of Plaquemine, where the Board of Selectmen also rolled back the tax rate, will see an increase comparable to the parishes while the Town of Maringouin and water districts #2 and #4 will lose a few hundred dollars each.