Livingston Parish Assessor's Office announces open book period for homeowners

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Homeowners in Livingston Parish who were affected by the August floods have the opportunity to lower their property taxes if they can prove the value of their house is incorrect, but they will need proof.

Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor said his office faced a really difficult task following the August flooding with re-evaluating home values damaged by floodwaters. The parish uses the value of the home to compute and collect property taxes, which are a critical source of revenue for the parish.

They needed to find the balance between getting enough revenue for the parish, while still giving recovering homeowners a break, a discount on what they owe in property tax.

"We're trying to hold the districts get them the money they need, so they can provide the services that are necessary for our citizens, but we're also trying to make sure that our citizens get the discount off of their assessments," Taylor said.

The assessor's office announce Thursday morning there will be an open book period from December 5 to December 19.

Officials are doing this because of the flooding and they want all homeowners to have a chance to check their home's value. However, homeowners must have evidence like a recent, professional appraisal.

"I've had people bring 'em in on napkins, saying, 'I was told this morning at lunch or breakfast that this is how much my house is worth,'" said Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor. "That's not what we're looking for. We're looking for a market analysis and we're looking for you to bring real numbers in."

The assessor's office has already said assessments on flood damaged homes will be reduced by at least 20 percent.

Because of this, Taylor said the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, schools, library, even his own office, among other services, will lose money.

WAFB spoke with around 20 homeowners in Livingston Thursday about the assessments of their homes. Though none of them felt comfortable discussing their home's value on-camera, some of them told said off-camera that they're considering challenging their assessment.

Some want a lower value and less taxes, but others want a higher value for insurance purposes or because they're planning on selling their home.

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