Let me open by saying that overall this year’s open rolls process has been very robust and I thank the public for engaging with us regarding their assessment questions so courteously.
Between July 15 and August 22, we served approximately 7,500 property owners in the office and another 6,700 filed appeals online or by mail.
At this moment, we are busy reviewing all formal appeals, settling them whenever possible and will be submitting those remaining to the Board of Review September 4, 2019.
It is because of this immediately deadline I asked the Council to allow me to delay speaking to them and why I must cut short my time with you today.
Because of orders from the State Tax Commissioner, we attempted to do a review of all commercial and residential properties within Orleans Parish. Historically, we do approximately a quarter of the city each year rather than all properties once every four years.
Our method of segmenting assessments within each four-year period was recently upheld in court, but we met the state’s demand, suspending annual revaluations, until courts agreed we could hold to our original process.
Thus, there remain some 40,000 properties that will be reviewed for assessment values next year. We informed the Tax Commission of this in April and are in compliance with the law.
Regardless, this year’s large volume of 129,000 assessment reviews caused a very large and vocal response, but I must reiterate: My constitutional job is to review and reassess all commercial and residential properties according to standards set by the State of Louisiana and professional assessors’ organizations.
The Orleans Assessors’ Office has been reviewed in the past by the State Legislative Auditor, independent organizations, as well as the media.
This process is set in law and always in place. In my more than 30 years as an Assessor, I have maintained these high standards of operation and continue to do so.
We are always open to improvement and because we have so openly provided access to all the data we maintain online, we encourage the public to engage with us when we make mistakes. We now have 21 appraisers with state designations and five with national designation.
However, there is no denying the fact that property values in the Parish of Orleans have drastically changed since 2016, as reflected in property assessments for 2020. Only owners of those properties which saw increased or decreased valuations received letters from me this year. They were invited to meet with us during the open rolls period or file a formal appeal.
Increased property taxes result when there are increased assessments and when the authorities allowed by voters to collect these taxes choose to roll their dedicated millage rates forward. I have done my part with assessing value, but it is now in the court of these 10 agencies to do theirs and either vote to reduce property tax rates, keep them neutral or increase them. They must do this in a public vote and after a public meeting.
Now, because this tax increase discussion still looms, I wish to correct several mis-statements:
Let me be very clear, I personally do not support ever giving any property owner, no matter how small or large, special treatment and by law I cannot allow my personal feelings to influence how I do my job.
The Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office does not approve or revoke any form of tax levies or exemptions, except those we control: Homestead Exemptions and special assessments granted by state law on the basis of age, disability and income. And these special exemptions are again granted by state law.
I do not have the authority to remove an entity's tax-exempt status without due process simply because the City wants more money.
While I understand the concern from property owners about tax rates, that is a discussion that must move to the agencies which set the tax rates. That is where the public’s focus now belongs.
Lt. Colonel Brandon Gregoire, a graduate of Jesuit High School, Harvard College and the U.S. Naval War College, and who went on to serve three tours of duty before retiring from U.S. Marines after 23 years of service, qualified for the District 3 Senate Race.
He is currently employed as Director of School Operations at the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, a public high school serving students from multiple parishes and active military duty families.
“I am determined to bring more resources to the three parishes represented in this district and improve our quality of life as residents, business owners and homeowners,” said Lt. Col. Gregoire. “I have a life-long record of accountability, discipline and character learned from the highest levels of the nation’s security and intelligence agencies that can be used to improve our community with strong leadership.”
He previously served as a defense legislative fellow for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a democrat from Missouri.
He is a Bronze Star Medal recipient, among 18 other military decorations. He is the proud father of one son and a homeowner in Gentilly Terrace.
Learn more about Brandon at brandongregoire.com.
(New Orleans) ‒ Matthew Willard, 30, a lifelong resident of Gentilly, businessperson and President of the Seabrook Neighborhood Association, today announced he will qualify for the District 97 House of Representatives election to be held on Saturday, October 12.
Matthew is the Senior Marketing and Communications Manager for the local technology start up, Fluence Analytics, and he comes from deep roots in New Orleans public service. Matthew’s grandparents, Dr. Elliot and Mary Jane Willard, were civil rights leaders and lifelong educators at St. Augustine, Booker T. Washington and John McDonogh High Schools. His Aunt Cynthia served as a State Senator and City Councilperson, and his Uncle Benedict is a Criminal District Court Judge. His parents, Dominic and Terrie Willard, are a local contractor and a lifelong educator, respectively.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home; all children deserve a quality education; we deserve good streets and working street lights; every working person should receive a living wage; we all deserve a chance at success. As your next State Representative, I will fight to make sure New Orleans remains a great place to visit but an even better place to live,” said Willard.
Matthew said he is running to serve District 97 in the spirit of faith, community service and integrity. “Our area of strong neighborhoods and residential business corridors deserves a principled and dedicated leader to fight for them,” Willard said.
His legislative priorities will be to:
As a business leader, Matthew guides Fluence Analytics’ overall marketing direction and manages business development initiatives and communication policies. Recently, Matthew led successful public relations campaigns following the company’s Series A and A-1 venture capital funding rounds. He is a certified Scrum Master in agile project management and was recently honored by Gambit New Orleans as a 40 Under 40 leader.
Matthew is as an elected member of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee for City Council District D and serves as a Board Member for Jason’s House, a nonprofit organization working to finance low-cost housing for men following rehabilitation for chemical dependency. Matthew is a homeowner and Board Member for the Seabrook Neighborhood Improvement and Security District. He is a parishioner of St. Raymond / St. Leo the Great Catholic Church.
Election Day, October 12, 2019 | MatthewWillard97.com | Facebook & Instagram: MatthewWillard97 | Twitter @MattWillard97