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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OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
OCT 31 Given the things Bobby Jindal has said and done since he's been governor, it's a pretty safe bet he thinks we're a bunch of dummies. Apparently, he's sure President Obama is one, too. This story on Huff Post quotes Jindal as saying the president - a graduate of Harvard Law - should sue to get his money back. (What should a Brown biology grad who doesn't believe in evolution do?)
OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
OCT 31 And you thought the Senate race was dirty. This post on the Forward Now blog tells the story of a Shreveport mayoral campaign worker who was paid to "infiltrate" and "sabotage" an opponent's campaign. Karma's a beeotch, though, because turns out the guy really liked the "enemy," and now he's supporting her. For real.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
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