Lower school millage won’t necessarily lower taxes

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 15, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – A vote by the Concordia Parish School District to lower its millage rate may not have much impact on parish taxpayers.

&uot;It’s not going to be much,&uot; said Jerry Clark, chief deputy clerk, in the Concordia Parish tax assessor’s office. &uot;You’re not going to see much of a difference. You’re really not.&uot;

The only taxpayers who will see a difference are those who saw a change in their property values this year, he said.

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The school board voted Tuesday to drop one ad valorem tax fund from 3.10 to 3.08 mills and another from 24.58 to 24.43.

School board member Darrell Crawford said he supported the decrease because it will help the taxpayers.

&uot;Anytime you can cut your taxes, you’re helping people, you’re helping the business people,&uot; he said.

And the change does not really have an impact on the budget, he said.

Officials estimate the decrease will only cost the district between $12,000 to $15,000 and maybe not all.

&uot;If the revenue collection levels are where (the district) thinks they will be, we’ll collect a few dollars less than we did last year by lowering the millage,&uot; said Superintendent Pete Peterman. &uot;We’re protecting ourselves by saying if our collections are $12,000 less than we had last year, we’ll be OK.&uot;

The two tax funds voted on by the board this week are both for ad valorem taxes. The first fund is established by the state, while the second requires voters’ approval every 10 years.

The second fund expires next year, and voters will decide Oct. 7 whether to renew it for the fiscal year beginning October 2001.

School board members were able to drop the millages for both funds because property values in the parish increased this year, according to a recent assessment.

The parish is required to reassess property values every four years. This year, the assessed value went up $444,000, to a total of $71,281,080.

Parish officials have said the increase in assessment is tied to timber values, new construction and property renovations.

A person’s tax bill will now increase or decrease depending on whether their tax assessment increased or decreased.

But because of the change in assessment, the school board had to drop its millage to collect the same amount of tax revenue as last year, Clark said.

The school board this week also approved a $26 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

While preparing the new budget, the board had to take into account losses of $280,000 in state funding and $717,000 in tax dollars from Concordia Parish’s Fruit of the Loom plant, Peterman said. Fruit of the Loom has filed for bankruptcy.

&uot;We aren’t depending on getting a penny from them,&uot; Peterman said.