It was a great honor to serve as your Assessor for 16 years. I worked very hard during those 16 years to earn your trust and confidence in the assessor’s office. I KNOW the current assessor, Ms. Cindy Manasco has done the same for the past seven years.
Some of you received a “notice of value” this year from the assessor’s office. This letter was NOT a notice of a tax increase, as some might suggest. The assessor CANNOT raise nor lower your property taxes. The job of the assessor, as mandated by state law, is to determine the FAIR MARKET VALUE of property in the parish for ad valorem tax purposes. Millages, VOTED BY THE PEOPLE for taxing districts throughout the parish, are then applied to the taxable value of property to determine the amount of taxes we pay. The assessor is required by state law to notify property owners by letter if the value of their property increases by 10% or more per year. Property owners then have the opportunity to visit with the assessor and discuss the value during a mandated two week ‘open book period’ in August of each year.
The Assessor is required to revalue property every four years (quadrennial). Each year the Louisiana Tax Commission performs ratio studies to ensure the Assessors across the state are within the international accepted standards for values as determined by sales of comparable properties. If the ratio studies show any discrepancies the Assessor is advised, changes are made to the values and the ratio study is approved. Ms. Manasco was not afforded those options, she was instructed to do a re appraisal of the entire parish.
WHY NOT??? In 2015, a large pipeline company appealed the value placed on their property by the your assessor. Through that appeal process, the LTC ruled in favor of the pipeline company, in essence giving the company a lower tax rate. As a result of their decision to lower the taxes for the pipeline company, you and I, the local taxpayers, had to pay more. Your assessor, Ms. Manasco, then filed suit against the LTC (TO PROTECT YOU AND ME FROM HIGHER TAXES) In 2018, the state appeals court ruled Ms. Manasco was right and the LTC was wrong. Three months later, Ms. Manasco was notified by the LTC that her ratio study was failed, prompting a forced reappraisal of property in Sabine parish. WHY didn’t the LTC allow Ms. Manasco to complete the job in 2019 and 2020? I think we know the answer.
An attorney for the Louisiana Assessor’s Association stated this was 100% revenge by the LTC.
Bottom line: Your assessor went to court to protect our interests and as a result she and her staff are being blamed by some throughout the parish for the value notices that, in some cases, were much too high.