As the leading voice of business in western St. Tammany Parish, representing 1,000 area businesses and their nearly 30,000 employees, we at St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce consistently stay informed about issues that are being discussed at the state and local governing bodies. At our most recent Board of Directors meeting, our leadership discussed concern about millage rollups that are being proposed by eight (8) Fire Districts and two (2) Recreational Districts in our community.
This is a reassessment year, so all taxing bodies must first roll back their millage rates to offset increases in market value to be revenue neutral, excluding new growth.
While most millages originate by a vote of the people, millages for non-elected boards and commissions (ie. rec districts, fire districts, etc.) can go up — known commonly as a “roll up” or a “roll forward” by a two-thirds majority vote of the board. This determines whether a tax will increase.
State law dictates that all millage hearings and meetings be open to the public. Further, if a “non-elected board” taxing body in St. Tammany Parish wants to increase their taxes by rolling forward, they must hold their hearings and meetings at the council chambers on Koop Drive at designated dates and times determined by parish government and the St. Tammany Parish Assessor’s Office.
These hearings and meetings are important! They provide taxpayers the opportunity to ask questions and voice their opinions about the potential tax increases.
Our Board voted to release a statement as follows: We strongly suggest that these non-elected boards provide information on their budgets, why they deem the increases as necessary, and whether or not they intend for the rollups to be permanent.
We also encourage our members and all homeowners in the area to be more informed, to attend these public meetings to voice your opinion about the proposed millage rollups and the taxes you pay. There are several of these meeting this week, visit the St. Tammany Parish Assessor’s Office website for the latest information and a complete list of all hearings and meetings.