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Property reassessments going out; homeowner concerned over huge increase

3 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, August 26 2020 Aug 26, 2020 August 26, 2020 8:00 PM August 26, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - This week, East Baton Rouge Parish residents will receive a property tax reassessment in the mail. The tax assessments happen every four years and lets homeowners know what their property is valued in 2020 and what it was valued at in 2019. The numbers could also mean a change in property taxes owed at the end of the year.

East Baton Rouge Parish Tax Assessor Brian Wilson says the reassessment is based on what the market was doing on January 1, 2019. It takes the values of home sales in neighborhoods six months before that date and six months after that date. The notices go out now so homeowners aren't surprised at the end of the year.

"That's what the assessment notices are for to alert them what their value is as opposed to getting a tax bill at the end of the year," Wilson said.

Wilson says an increase in property values is a good thing if a homeowner is looking to sell.

"They want it to be worth more to sell it, but unfortunately when people come to pay taxes for it they prefer it to be lower," he said. "It's what the market is doing and that's what the reassessment is based on, what they're selling for dollar per square foot."

Already, people are concerned about what those numbers mean for their property. Dal Daigle lives in the Woodridge subdivision off Pecue Lane in Baton Rouge. When he opened his mail this week, he says he was shocked.

"What's fair is fair and in this case, I don't think it's fair," Daigle said.

His property tax reassessment says his total fair market value for his home in 2020 is $445,000. The number is staggering to Daigle, who bought his house brand new in 2012 for $329,000. The fair market value then was $336,000. According to his reassessment, in eight years his home value has increased by $109,000.

"Look, I'm all about paying my fair share of taxes, I truly believe my taxes help the policemen, the fire department, the EMTs, mosquito abatement, those things are very important," he said. "But fair is fair and when you send me something in the mail saying that my house is appraised at a fair market value of $445,000 it's crazy."

Daigle says on a good day, he believes his house could sell for $365,000, which is around $162 per square foot. According to the reassessment, the new fair market value from the City-Parish would put his home value at around $198 sqft.

In 2016, Daigle says his property taxes went up considerably and they're about to go up considerably again. He fears it's to fill parish issues down the road.

"We all know and we will address the elephant in the room that there is going to be a deficit this year in EBR's budget and everybody's trying to make it up, but this stinks it really does it stinks," Daigle said.

Daigle says his home had been assessed at $385,000 in 2016. He plans to challenge his reassessment but says he didn't have luck doing that four years ago. From 2016 to 2020, Daigle's fair market value has increased by $60,000.

"I'm a facts person, I know what the homes are selling in here per square footage," Daigle said. "I would like them to look at my house comparable to the houses with the same square footage and see what they sold for."

Reassessment listings will be available for public inspection and correction for 15 calendar days in room 126 at 222 St. Louis Street. The 15 calendar days started Friday, August 21, and will go to September 4. Since City-Parish offices have been closed due to the threat of severe weather, the review period will likely be extended.

"My office has been fair to property owners over the years, we're going to continue to do that," Wilson said. "If they have an issue or question about their assessment please call our office."

More information on how to calculate your property taxes can be found here. Residents can also call 225-389-3920.

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