Timber values, construction push tax assessment higher

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 3, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – An increase in the value of Concordia Parish property was due in large part to timber values, new construction and property renovations that offset the lower value of farm land, said Tax Assessor Monelle Moseley.

The total value of property in the parish has actually gone up slightly in the last four years, from $70,836,640 to $71,281,080.

That is due to rising timber values as well as the building of, and additions to, houses and businesses.

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&uot;We don’t have much timber land in Concordia Parish at all — most of our land is farm land — but the value of timber has gone up, so the value of the land has as well,&uot; Moseley said.

&uot;And the price of everything you use in construction, from lumber to labor, has gone up, so that had something to do with it as well.&uot;

That could be a boon to the Concordia Parish Police Jury, which is strapped for cash due to everything from unfunded state and federal mandates to the uncertainty of when — or if — the parish will get $564,000 in taxes from bankrupt Fruit of the Loom.

So given the rising value of property, if the jury held the parish’s tax millage at the same level, it could take in about $10,000 more that could be used for such things as public works, courthouse maintenance and employees’ salaries.

And the jury has scheduled a public hearing for Oct. 9 to allow it to hold the parish’s tax millage at the same level.

Still, while the value of other property went up, the value of agricultural property actually went down in the last four years — which is perhaps no surprise, given a decrease in farm acreage and still-low crop prices.

In fact, a recent reassessment of the value of property in the parish showed that the dollar value of farm land had gone down $770,000 since 1996, when the the parish was last required to reassess property.

According to federal government and Extension Service statistics, about 170,000 acres of crops were planted in Concordia Parish this year. That is down from about 192,200 acres in 1999.

&uot;Things have just been bad for agriculture during the last several years,&uot; Moseley said.

&uot;Fortunately, the gains we made (in other property values) helped make up for that.&uot;