Flood-damaged buildings will receive across-the-board assessment reductions in two Louisiana parishes. A 35% reduction will be placed on damaged properties in East Baton Rouge. In Livingston, the discount will be 20%.
Assessors say this is the fairest method they could devise to assess the tens of thousands of properties that suffered damage from the August floods in these disaster-declared areas.
About 41,000 properties in East Baton Rouge will receive assessment reductions. In Livingston, an estimated 37,000 buildings took on water and will see their values decrease.
Assessors say they decided to apply a double-digit decline on all flooded buildings because true property values won't be known until the area begins to see more than just "as is" sales.
To determine which properties receive reductions, appraisers are using the Federal Emergency Management Agency's inundation maps, aerial imaging permit data from the parish, municipalities, and onsite visits.
Officials are working to have tax notices in the mail by February 1, 2017. To do that, the assessors' staffs will have to finish the reassessments in time to open the books for public inspection sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Parish Council, acting as the Board of Review, should be able to hear appeals and accept the tax rolls between Christmas and early January. The timing puts added pressure on taxpayers to ensure their property is correctly assessed.