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Livingston tax officials hope to give flood-affected homeowners another reduction

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LIVINGSTON PARISH - Hundreds of people still trying to recover from the 2016 flood may soon be getting some financial help... but, there's a catch.

The tax assessor's office in Livingston Parish wants to give flood-affected homeowners a tax break for a third consecutive year. However, the state has to approve it first.

Burke Hymel and his wife Ilene have been living in an RV for almost two years. The catastrophic flood in 2016 destroyed their home near Denham Springs.

"Your bedroom and your bathroom is all one room. Your kitchen and your living room is all together," Ilene Hymel said.

After a long, drawn out process to get help from FEMA, the couple is finally having a new mobile home moved in.

More than 70% of the homes and businesses in Livingston Parish were hit by the flood. Property owners got a tax break 2016 and 2017, and the tax assessor's office wants to give them another one.

"We have hundreds of people who are still suffering and deserve the reduction," Deputy Tax Assessor Wayne Mack told WBRZ.

But the state tax commission still has to approve a tax break for the third year in a row.

"Whatever little break people can get, whether it's from taxes or somewhere else, it's a help to them," Mack said. "If it's $100 or if it's $1,000 or whatever the case, whatever you can do for them - we feel like we need to do for our constituents."

The Livingston Parish Government is also recovering after taking a financial hit from the flood, and officials say they had to make cut backs with less tax dollars coming in.

"There is not a one parish leader that I know of that complained of having to take this hit to help the people of the parish," Mack said.

As for the Hymel's, any help is appreciated.

Burke Hymel says, "We're on a fixed income and every little bit helps."

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