Residential property reassessment was a “mixed bag” this year, according to Lafayette Parish Tax Assessor Conrad Comeaux, with the parish seeing a slight decline in both residential and commercial sales. Comparable sales are one method used to determine a building's market value.

Still, with other factors at play, total taxable property value in Lafayette Parish rose to $1.73 billion, up from $1.64 billion last year, Comeaux says.

When reassessment occurs every four years as mandated by state law, the assessor’s office has three methods to choose from when valuing property in Lafayette Parish: the income approach, based on income derived from that property; cost approach, what would it cost to replace the building; and market approach, based upon the sale and lease prices of buildings.

One area of town that saw a significant increase in property values is downtown, where Comeaux says his employees spent more time this year measuring buildings and capturing characteristics that affect valuation.

“Most of the large buildings downtown went up significantly,” he says.

As The Independent noted in its Feb. 22 cover story, “Downtown Development,” several commercial buildings in and around Jefferson Street listed seemingly low values and subsequently received a smaller property tax bill every year.

Among the businesses found downtown, Antler’s, Frankie’s and Agave on Vermilion Street were some of the commercial properties with the lowest values. Agave, the thriving Mexican cantina that’s listed on the assessor’s website as an office building valued at $31,966, had paid $410 a year in property taxes for the past four years.

The official public inspection period for property owners looking to review their reassessments at the assessor’s office is Aug. 31 - Sept. 15, though Comeaux says residents are welcome to review their reassessments at his office any time before Sept. 15.

Comeaux notes that so far, the only two public agencies that have opted to “roll back” their millage rates and remain revenue neutral on their property tax collections are the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and the Teche-Vermilion Freshwater District. All others so far have “rolled forward” their millage rates to collect additional revenues this year.

Check back with IND Monthly soon for more on this year’s property tax reassessment.

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