LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The last year and a half for Livingston Parish residents has been brutal after being forced to deal with four major weather events, but parish officials say the future is bright.
"We are on the move. We are rebuilding. We are united and coming back, stronger and bigger and better than ever," said Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks.
Thursday afternoon, the Livingston Parish Council of Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors hosted the 2017 Forecast, where area realtors, bankers, and elected officials came together to discuss flood recovery efforts and how it has impacted the real estate market. In a presentation, Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor said last year, the parish faced devastation, with over 20,000 homes and more than 30,000 structures taking on water.
Ricks said although 80 to 90 percent of the parish was covered in water, it did not surprise him that many residents chose to stay and rebuild. "You take Juban Crossing, really and truly completely flooded and lost every store, they're all back but the one store that chose not to come," he said.
"Better things are yet to come," said Taylor. "If you look across the parish, a lot of work is being done on homes and businesses but, there are still a few that we're looking at that are being gutted out and nothing is being done on them. We're watching that very closely."
There's some good news for home and business owners who were given a 20 percent tax break last year while rebuilding after the flood. This year, it's even better. "We're going to give 25 percent off the flooded structure, off the 2016 reassessment. Every little bit that we can do, we're helping where we can and we're trying to make sure people are getting what they deserve," said Ricks.
As far as what impact less tax revenue will have on the parish, Taylor said enough new business has come into the parish that is expected to offset the lower revenue.