St. John assessor provides fact sheet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – On April 6, St. John the Baptist Tax Assessor Whitney Joseph sent out a list of facts he thought every homeowner should know.

The purpose of this list is “just to let people know what’s going on in the assessor’s office,” said Joseph. “If I work for the public, I should keep them informed.”

Joseph said this does not mean people are going to pay more taxes, it is just a list of facts the public should know about.

According to the list, the tax assessor is responsible for valuing all properties for the purpose of local taxation. This is important to make sure each property owner pays only their fair share of taxes.

The list also has the explanation of what an assessed value is based on. For example, it is based on 10 percent of fair market value, which means if the fair market value is $125,000, then the assessed value is $12,500.

Joseph said he realizes some areas in St. John Parish are underassessed, like areas on Highway 51, Belle Terre, certain areas in Riverlands and the Glade subdivision. He is sending out self-reporting forms to the homeowners to try and fix the problem. The purpose of these forms are to get information about homes, then the assessor will be able to determine the fair market value of their property.

He is also working on getting a bill passed that will freeze assessments for people with disabilities. State Rep. Robert R. “Bobby” Faucheux is working with Joseph on making this happen, according to Joseph.

Other important facts are, the present millage rate in St. John Parish is 126.82 mills, the fifth highest in Louisiana; it explains homestead exemption, which is $75,000, meaning a home assessed for this amount or less is tax exempt; and special assessment levels for property owners receiving homestead exemption, who are 65 years or older and earn a combined adjusted gross income of $55,779 or less a year can freeze the assessed value of their homestead.

“We have an open door policy,” said Joseph. “I want to make this office accessible to people. If they have a problem, come in and talk about it, anything, it doesn’t matter.”