This 8-acre property on Alleman Drive off of Johnston Street near Park Place Apartments comes equipped with a one-bedroom “shed,” carport with two barbecue pits and a city trash bin. Its property tax bill for 2010? $17.41.
While it’s not in the prime commercial land slot, the agricultural-use status was granted to owners Greg and Darcy Logan in 2003 despite its location in Sun Valley Subdivision, a residential neighborhood.
The land is among the 4,085 acres of agricultural use property in the city of Lafayette, acreage that has come to light over the past two months as The Independent Weekly finds more and more property owners skirting the already lax guidelines that allow landowners with large tracts of prime property to pay next to nothing in property taxes.
Local attorney Greg Logan says he bales hay on the undeveloped acreage, though we won’t know for sure what kind of residential or agricultural activity is taking place until an inspector with the assessor’s office revisits the property. Logan also maintains that he was required to have a bedroom constructed in his shed in order to receive a permit, and says the assessor’s office visited the property in 2004. He does not know, he says, what is taxed and not taxed on the land.
If the property had been assessed without the agricultural status loophole, the Logans would have been billed a little more than $5,000 in 2010 property taxes — a figure that doesn’t even factor in the one-bedroom metal building that may or may not be rented out or occupied. Nor does it include two red metal storage buildings resembling small barns.
Lafayette Parish Tax Assessor Conrad Comeaux says if an inspector visited the property in 2004 and found hay, then any storage buildings would be exempt from property taxes.
The Ind is not highlighting these properties in an attempt to have them taxed out of ownership, but rather hoping that the loophole in a law designed to protect farmers and their farmland could somehow be adjusted to a more fair rate and not allow other landowners to take advantage.
As Comeaux pointed out in our “Green Acres” cover story (April 6, 2011), if the thousands of agricultural classified acres in Lafayette were assessed at even a small fraction of their fair market values, the parish would have received an additional $1.5 million in 2010 property taxes, the public dollars used to fund infrastructure, education and other critical services.
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NOV 25 Here's a link to the petition that has been created to save Zeus, a family dog who is targeted for death by the learned fathers of the Avoyelles Parish village of Moreauville. They passed an ordinance based on nothing that outlaws pit bulls and Rotweillers. As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 230,000 signatures - a number that's a wee bit higher than the village population of 929.
NOV 25 Blogger Tom Aswell is writing about the latest in a federal lawsuit against Du Pont that claims the chemical company's Ascension Parish plant has been leaking toxic fumes on a regular basis for years without reporting it. The company is asking the court to prevent the plaintiff from talking about a fatal toxic leak that happened in Texas, Tom writes.
NOV 25 Louisiana Democrats are limping, but don't count them out, Jeremy Alford writes in this post on LaPolitics. They've come back before; but the one thing the D's can't do is just twiddle their thumbs while waiting for the pendulum to swing left, Alford opines. They need to rebuild and rebrand, he says.
NOV 25 Blogger Mike Deshotels offers this primer on predatory charter schools and how they operate, specifically in Louisiana. They're not just profiting from our tax dollars, they're using children and shortchanging them to do so, Deshotels says.
NOV 25 Blogger Rod Dreher is writing about the increasing number of retail establishments who are open on Thanksgiving in this post. He's got a list of stores that will be open and a list of stores that won't.
NOV 25 Edwin Edwards took off the gloves on Monday, this post on WAFB tells us. At a Press Club appearance, he wondered how his 6th Congressional District opponent, Garret Graves, could be an expert in all the areas in which he claims to be - when he has no college degree in anything. (Five years - FIVE YEARS - in college, but no degree. Huh?)
NOV 25 This story in the LSU Reveille assures students that the Jindal administration's removal of millions from the TOPS fund won't affect students. Oh, ah. K. Is that like the raid on the OGB wasn't going to affect state employees? Who is the adviser for this paper?
NOV 25 Apparently the Jindal administration can't handle old folks, either. This post on The Advocate outlines a legislative auditor's report critical of the administration's handling (or not handling) of the state agency that oversees services for the elderly.
NOV 24 Blogger Bob Mann is blogging about race and the Senate campaign in this post. Sure, everybody knows that Mary Landrieu doesn't do too well with white folks, but how come the GOP can't get arrested in the black community? Bob is asking.
NOV 24 The GOP has a boogie-man for anybody thinking about voting for Mary Landrieu: President Obama. But the Dems have one for Bill Cassidy, too, Melinda Deslatte writes in this AP post on The Reading Eagle -- and his name is Governor Jindal.
NOV 24 Columnist Stephanie Grace is writing about Bobby Jindal's continuing refusal to accept federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid. It's purely an attempt to benefit him politically, meaning the decision is "cruel, short-sighted and remarkably self-centered." Well, yeah. Have you met him?
NOV 24 Because of a town ordinance, the police will come to a disabled girl's home this week to take away her service dog and kill him. Sound like a bad Lifetime movie? Nope - it's real life in Moreauville, blogger Lamar White Jr. tells us in this post. The dog's crime? Being born a pit bull. What's the reason for this ordinance? Well, the town fathers are a little vague on that one. Maybe Obama?
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