Hundreds pack meeting with concerns on 2020 assessment, desperate for answers

Hundreds pack meeting with concerns on 2020 assessment, desperate for answers

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Hundreds packed the St. Dominic gym in Lakeview Tuesday evening (Aug. 13), hoping to learn more about the high property assessments they received for 2020, how to appeal them and what that means for their property taxes.

Mike Pauli said he’s lived in Lakeview for 11 years, after building his home after Hurricane Katrina. He said this is the first time he’ll be going through the appeal process, but said he’s walking away feeling much more at ease about the whole process.

“It’s still a lot of information to gather in a certain amount of time,” Pauli said.

The Lakeview Civic Association hosted the meeting and answered questions from the audience, but not everyone went home optimistic.

A.J. Vaccaro said he feels slighted, not only by the parish office, but also city leaders.

“It’s hard to say, I think everyone is shocked by the increase,” Vaccaro said.

Vaccaro said he does plan to appeal his assessment, but considering how many people were at tonight’s meeting, he’s pleading with leaders to extend the deadline to do so.

“There’s a lot of retired people on set incomes that made a comeback from Katrina. They’re struggling to begin with, now they’re struggling even more,” he said.

City Councilman Joe Giarrusso said he’s attended hundreds of civic association meetings, and this was the largest one he’s ever seen.

Giarrusso helped answer questions, explaining with the high home assessment values, a “roll back” will automatically go into effect. This will keep the revenue neutral for those agencies and boards, including the city council. But, the council will need to meet and vote on a potential "roll forward,” which would raise those tax rates again.

“I’ve expressed a lot of skepticism about a full roll forward," Giarrusso said. “I have not heard from the administration about a roll forward, but tonight, you saw the attitude is not supportive of moving those millages very much, particularly these assessments going up 75 to 100 percent.”

Giarrusso advised neighbors to also email and contact other boards and agencies that also vote on property taxes. But, Vaccaro said there may be a simpler solution.

“If they keep going up, I might make that decision to go elsewhere. All you have to do is go across the canal," Vaccaro said. “Your insurance is cheaper, your taxes are cheaper.”

The Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office said so far, they’ve received 1,200 formal appeals and estimate this year, they’ll receive around 5,000 informal and formal appeals.

The deadline to file a formal appeal is August 22nd.

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