Feb 13, 2014|
Angela talks with Orleans Parish tax assessor Erroll Williams about property taxes and infrastructure.
We're discussing the hot topics of the day with co-host of First Take, Todd Menesses.
Angela discusses the shooting in Lafayette and says farewell to WWL as she hands her timeslot off to Scoot.
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Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Well I can't tell a lot Galen Tom Benson. Enough power appreciative Siam that they would take time out of really an extraordinarily busy weekend for them. With the NBA NBA coming in. And they're giving a huge event tomorrow night for the other owners and other people and in great part is they say to show. This is how New Orleans doesn't and I think that's sort of at the core of them -- very proud of the city and they want others to enjoy it too. We are moving on -- to a very important topic so please stay with -- were talking property taxes. Just the words bring all kinds of emotions to the surface. Do you think you pay too much do you think it's a fair system. Do you think too few pay. This city needs revenue to pay for roads and lights and more police. Would you be willing to pay a little more to have an even better city. What should give this call 260172601. Point 78. As we talked for the next hour with a man in charge of property taxes. New Orleans assessor -- Williams answer I appreciate you being here because we've tried and I know that you just inundated. Around this time of year once those bills go out so it means a lot the took on here and I really mean that he is willing to take any question. So don't hesitate to call 260187. My first thing is I was thinking last night you probably don't know. To the grocery store where somebody doesn't come up and saying we need to talk about well. That's true thank you for inviting me but it is true many places I -- people. Do you view he'll look all that work to do as he put stuff on your plate -- -- best to try and addressed those requests. -- of Hershey store in a -- -- them local bar -- an idea where anybody at a football game if it is people that you would those questions and and you try your best try and accommodate them. The city voted the people voted some years ago to go away from me -- to a one. A sensor system you being the one assessor vs a -- by district and that has worked. Also for a -- got -- on the record this and ray knows that I was opposed to -- The accounts of consolidation because I felt that people. At a 11 relationship with the each elected tax assessor. When you go to consolidation created one that gave the you you put everything on one person is no where one person and we will sit down. And me and Hamlin amenities had been handled over the past 15100 years. I hit over what to which you do get under that process is one system. That everybody did eventually understands how it works and hopefully that though in that system when you put in place if it's confusing -- appraisal period. Which we try to employ. Then you would get everybody being treated equally and equitably when he comes each respective neighborhoods. Let's talk about how. How you do -- assessed every four years. That's correct. Basically what happens is look. This was in the constitution says that. All probably should be be valued by the SS at least once every four years -- does that mean you wait four years or. Do you do it does sometimes certain neighborhoods will require. That -- go back and look at it again in less than four year period but oh what we try to do in in the system -- it sets have been in the recesses -- loses. Every year I'm changing so many thousand. Valuations police review and enable us to determine which ones should be changed and and with a -- a 167000. Properties in -- city I generally try and split target is trying to do at least 40000 changed year. And the net debt that way when they took four year period of at least reviewed at property and try to bring that neighborhood -- to compliance -- what the losses. But it must've been tricky for some neighborhoods after Katrina. What with some houses you know doing fine and rebuilt and others still in -- Well what happened was valued at seven different -- at that time and had seven different approaches to value. You value of the change -- consolidation did not happen until January 12011. So and -- case some assesses had different approaches. My approach and a time was if you had us more than eighteen inches -- house into a single story. Home and it -- we reduced everything across the board. By 80% and -- -- producer helps reduce 65%. There's a law old book. Law on the books ago back in 18100 just say that when you have little floral deliveries in their big floods -- them or no matter where -- -- is in the process. He must go back and regarding property well if you think back he was almost one and -- we did just concluded a tax rules that put forth coming -- year so it. Put a lot of work on all of us to try and see if we could go revivals -- is actually -- and finished a joke until more subdued next election. So the city had and this is borrow money to be able to pay the bills until low we can -- to property tax system back in place to reflect. What do those little sprout is worried that -- damage in the ones that were partially damaged and all the ones that -- we're not so it it was a challenge for all seven assesses and a time. You should we have a 167000. Properties -- current and that's both residential and and business residential and commercial and commercial. All of those how many paychecks this apology is -- until tonight that question. Who -- look at it in this matter of the 1067000. There is approximately 141000 properties that are totally exempt. There -- owned by nonprofit organizations government agencies. You know educational institutions. And things like that. Everyone else if they have property. They pay taxes and that is if you have a vacant lot -- on if you have a homestead exemption in your house is worse than 5000 you're -- some -- -- paying the full Milledge rate. 140 -- are paying probably -- ten dollar and 52 cent which is police and farm bills and a dedicated. Two of Texas for about four points to four. So everybody of those properties place everyone who has his problem is not totally exempt and there are some that a -- exam by statutes. Such as. But Dole's fall in the exempt category is where an industrial development board -- on the property. Here or it may be did -- a case where they have some type of -- state exemption from commerce and industry industrial exemption that would. Would exempt the property. Do you. I think we've done enough programs here and and everybody else has to. Even though we have a decent budget we don't have enough money coming into the city but we still need more police were still need more road where we need we need we need. And that the question then is of those fourteen the house. That are not paying anything should they be paying something. Well I like to usable also model and the public liaison position as the system must follow on the matter whether he should -- -- opinion about -- -- Generally police and for our services. And certain services of government are being paid for by the citizens were paying the taxes in that lead to -- profits should share in that. In Boston did that in twenty years ago to non profits pay pay based tax for a police. Sanitation this and I guess some recreational programs that they have up there. Likelihood of that happening in this state requires accounts to amendment. And every parish would have to be on the same page when it comes to trying to make those non profit organizations are -- probably pays in taxes. You know several mayors have tried it and hasn't been successful. I know that the BGR did a study saying that those properties are valued at roughly at a billion dollars -- -- rounding things well. And and again and this wouldn't be the traditional tax -- talk about more what you're talking about this a baseline the baseline tax. Because they are in fact using those city's services. They call and a payment -- taxes that's a way to do it in Boston. And that is is that -- nonprofit organizations a for the -- re just related to the fire department police department and that and I guest Leo street's support and to some extent because there as well. They have to remove snow and things like that so -- -- to get some -- it affects everybody. The. And not harping on this -- it just seems like we're missing an opportunity for some revenue benefit if it has to be a constitutional amendment. And the other parishes are an interest and could there be another law this just OK just for Orleans parish. We're making a decision of neat. Well it could put your capacity low and make the local parish option. David that would be -- requirement of the legislature and remember it takes two thirds vote. Of the public to vote to pass constitutional amendment. And Meehan legislation in the public's got to -- about majority -- commuter partner that story works. So you're thinking it's never gonna happen. I remember when. -- Kamen -- -- at the end of the -- to -- -- attack that. That issue and change it in the legislature. When it came time -- after meeting with all the -- recipient agencies and bodies. He said this is -- -- -- pushed -- -- Then -- that we didn't run on that platform. And then when Mitch came -- he -- -- Michael blue ribbon committee studying and they've made some recommendations but the recommendations that SO -- somewhat watered down. And and then he went to bed -- trying changes. But only as New Orleans you don't change legislation of that magnitude by going it alone so you don't have to have. Others parishes who have the same state fighting for the same change in the law so was unsuccessful. Stay with this we're gonna continue our talk with Carol Williams the assessor a New Orleans and again if you have any questions -- about anything. Give us a call at 2601870. Our special guest today is our New Orleans assessor -- William's on again appreciate your being here. And we're gonna talk a lot about property taxes but we have a caller Eddie from New Orleans. Hi. Honest to. Proposed in the -- -- different hair and in regard to the art department and we put it. On all our policy issue in the city and so on mobile. I thought you know it all occur and can shop but our damages and and -- department responds accident that helped by. They make up it would cause -- it would cost good it's. I've ever had to -- policy it would pay the only. Op and so you would all the profits on the people that it actually it's. And they -- -- that would -- also. Pre -- Abacha. Body column. That the apartment in the election could be trend but I did general and I think the bike ride out by. Now. Knows there's -- The second digit -- was that nobody really gets into it that way and rebuild. The unit you know that would go do. Procter and -- it was. On track -- that truly build on it usually. -- out so it's been a mob from prop. But on cost. It's basically. And that would. Putts and the controversy at 13 album all but -- -- great way to competing with pocket and it shall. Probably you know. Aniston on the this your first question have they get -- -- -- deer and think that it has Mary. The -- putting out of the on the insurance policy that would -- And to everyone but that's controlled by the legislature. And in the City Council could maybe have passed a resolution asking them to put it on the on the ballot so that people will -- to a candidate that is if -- but that would be direct route would have to take to go to grow. Now on the case of the the new replacement housing projects. Is just to correct the record. That the City Council does not exempt those properties. There is laws in the constitution. That's say that the property diseases -- that day or actually it's of followed included the cities sign with -- go back in 1946. Of 49 and it's that. It provides. Public housing units that low income public health news that those properties would be exempt. And that which you see being built by these private vendors so there is. How complex that -- that do compete -- the other apartment. Complex almost as well as double homeowners. And this the structure of the deal is is that. And just recently lost in court. Fighting over the the value the world and that those units should be -- and they're beautiful complex will maintain open -- or. According to the deal that was made that the you almost made to deal with Indo us to devote the bullet to put four million dollars and 220 million dollar project. That there was that they hit sold seventy million dollars of tax credits to an insurance company. And as a result the buildings owned by private vendor. But because it was transferred into the name and -- to devote toward courses that I do not have the right to tax. The buildings and -- land is Leo owned by the and the which would be exempt. As loan scandals -- owns a new provides low income housing now is different and desire housing project in the first two. Projects they did. We did fight those in court and we loss on the issue low public housing units only do we get to tax. This section eight units in the market base rent you so in -- regular on the Texas office all the major housing projects. The have. Transfer the Clinton name -- just Google -- sidestepped the law as we understand but he reminded. It didn't get -- votes Supreme Court review refused -- or so ago -- Court of Appeals and went to a from what they hear from. It was a -- went from a tree just fell to -- judge panel. You remember correctly but I know that we which fought strongly about that if I had a McDonald's. And it was located on the -- proper dolby -- McDonnell's. Addicted -- building in and they saw improvements on the property in this case they say for for federal tax purposes that builds on by the developer. And for a state tax -- purposes because it's an industry goal -- blame the assessment of its -- Very interesting I appreciate your call at a very much you bring up some good points. Again if anybody else has any thoughts 2601870. That is very interest and what other kinds of properties coming or most of the buildings downtown taxed. I like to say yes but the majority of them or their -- A few that have four they keep in mind industrial development board is that he a good component first the city to have as economic and act now. Development unit for our city. A and they in -- some of these pride issues -- being built. Would not have happened if they didn't finance the Texas and funding. Of those bonds so. It is important form of some of the buildings. To make them happen. It's. It's you know it's one of those programs that the he'll their bread makes a judgment call and this tax assessed only hasn't read with a loss as the biggest acts were exempt. And sometimes we we differ on the interpretation of -- that wind is a court system. And the judges -- review it and determine whether or not the to -- is right or the property on the correct. If it's been fascinating to watch what's happened in the last 45 years with the developments going downtown. I mean incredible positive things happening but -- saying some of them will not be paying property can't. -- for a few years ago. I guess case in point would be the last building was 930. -- who will be it will be paying taxes. Because in -- long board negotiated arrangement. To a data Politico that the pay the of additional -- but also that they were -- a payment in -- -- taxes so they pay taxes but in the case of the high it. The and he it doesn't pay any tax because they hit the -- that course in the comeback and it's been a good positive move to get them back so. Visit caused benefit is that they'll never pay taxes or did not return for a time period in which they are paid off today. That was issues. For the investors took the number and that's you know register looking at. At some of those investments up there and do one -- the him. It'll totally -- by the city new laws of most people on the island and the quoted to hide in the quarter one. On my real street. That high it pays forest leasehold improvements but the building and everything is on by -- public benefit corporation owned by the citadel. And the city pays no taxes no -- would pay taxes -- We're gonna continue to -- I hope everyone stays with -- and don't hesitate to call 260187. Day. But now we're gonna go to the newsroom and Christmas. While our guest right now is not New Orleans assessor -- Williams. Well let's talk about first ball here. In the bill's original and that we had the bad -- being extended their week so the bills are due on January. Watched. On general refers and the -- -- February forest. Hefty fines if you don't play. Well that's that's been. Argued in court for the second time in the city loss on and I need to correct some Republicans as the -- says it does nets and you're any tax bills. He doesn't even collected taxes -- -- on the Texas but often times people but again we're the ones that send the bill we determine how much -- assessed value is. And then the council sets to -- rate and had to that's -- the tax rate but at times assessment gives you which ruined Texas. Okay the having been through the process where. You know and thank heaven we have a process and once you get your tax bill and you say I disagree with that. Then you do have that open enrollment and opened up thing where you can go in and meet with one of the appraisers. In your office and saying this is why I disagree. That's correct though the timing of that is different so that Simon is Simon is normally all business office 1 August 15. Well we did in the legislature gets though they would get a few legislators responsibility -- able most of be able to expand -- period. Through July 50. To August -- that way you can come in you know alone period and take some pressure off -- because if you go back. Are you forty years you'll see that there attendant to actually opened the crowd of people and assesses office my horse so. What we -- it in order to defuse and be able to people more time we've added that component to and then. When the prisoners tax do we still get people coming in one and its eligibility at times have we made an error. And that bill we will look in detainment after -- circles but if we didn't we won't touch it until next -- So the opportunity for somebody to say I wanna challenge this is now on July 15 to August missed. That's right okay next August 20 because the way to Los structure is said that you. -- file -- appeal almost 1617. And eighteen which history days after the closing tax rules so we changed a low rescinding a file the appeal on any day you command during it opened roll period. And then which time you would be able to come in and do -- -- would also -- another component issue we -- -- convened her body this year and do it on line. -- issued -- no matter what computer you dislike you. They'll buy cement to grow Frist oral by some on line. He didn't go to its web site and -- for she would think that helpless takes some pressure off the office of number of people and then. Though once we get that information if we think that F will review it. And we believe that your arguments or plausible and our information is incorrect. That we make corrections and we all feel so live. If -- Don't agree Richard. Then though we forwarded on suitable review which is with the requirement is when you folly formal appeal. And the border review this is where it's held -- now. No board review bills -- hearing officers -- review is actually our City Council OK the City Council as a board review read that technically exist for. About a month in the year and then they disband it but what happens is they hired independent appraisers. To come in and as referees as I call them to refereed to dispute between tax assesses office and the property sometimes. We have. Incorrect information. And and sometimes people just want more than what the what the market is for their respective neighborhood but either case it's. As I believe it. The Texas s.'s office and the taxpayer may never agree on the value -- surprise. But there are several levels of dispute resolution and in a dispute resolution occurs when the border view cars independent -- And if -- agrees with. Detectors tests reduced but then be -- also can take it to the next level and if you -- this. If he doesn't get what you want to be contiguous to the next level which we'd lose -- tax commission. Who has an appraisals if welcomes and reviews of property and they make a recommendation. Based -- -- to the task which and they decide. And if there had been in the past from the time that recently. Stories in the newspaper stories in television stations have done. -- side by south side house -- houses on the same street basically the same but with very different appraisals how does that happen. Well as it happens like this in the heavens every day off for us. The biggest challenge for me and consolidation is trying to determine. Accurate information I get to accurate information on each respective house. I can have two houses that are endemic who. Bill by the same guy at the same time period and one cells 4000003. And you know social -- 100000. When we used -- prison we're gonna use an average out so to average says it -- houses were they to pay 10000034. It's going to be just it's a million and the guy who pay an -- he's going up to two million dollars. The problem in and that we followed a real problem in the differences those problems is that one has been renovated. Usually. Daniel has not. You don't know that from the -- off because a law doesn't give us the right into the property and determine. What do amenities -- in the property where you got marble on the floor on the counter tops well you got Formica or vinyl. That's where the changes on some states incessant come in his staff chemistry off your home with a clipboard to determine what the amenities Orleans so. A former mayor at lunch today and he said that he went to her house though -- boy Leo tell. An -- how's it look like fools fall on the problem we walked in. It was a McAleese as you look let me worth 600000 when he walked into it also from the outside where he says is looking at from the curve. -- and what to averages are for a respected neighborhood not necessary Williams house like Villanueva sent out. We're gonna continue this conversation stay with -- I'm Angela under the WL. We're back with the assessor for New Orleans -- Williams we have a caller Martha from Algiers. Yeah. It. Am apple did what it was an interior activity in a little bit late here this -- But I understand that if if if homeowner in 65 or older. Mary him from paying property today is now running bearish. But what is the cut -- for that. Well -- will -- for one thing that. Which makes 65 in that example print property taxes and it has this interpretation on that froze expressed some people. Oh what the -- -- its -- special assessment level. And we know we often referred to as a free and says the freeze what is says that when you make 65. There was reassessment level is once you meet the age requirement and you don't earn more than what the income limit is for that respective -- -- -- -- 8000 plus. Then your assessment is frozen because the law requires incessant once every four years ago -- -- value that property. And then. Well we reevaluated this frozen we -- this assessment stays the same but it you ration may increase almost natural but you still pay the same tax based upon that provide you go head onto the property. And make the value we -- more than 25% when world before when he froze but it is income regulate its in its income regularly. And what is the criteria for the company is 70000 dollars. Yet each year all Ichiro all -- online we changed the the income on these applications application I know assess the dot com. That reflects the application for -- freeze and general -- looking for copy detection turning to be submitted with that and then we'd. We're required to destroy detection turn once it's committed to us but didn't re entered into records that you qualify it. To have access -- frozen though he has accused the kids. In all the other parishes when you fall for freeze. It is for that next year back. The case and the losses that you have to make 65 in that you're so if you make 65 on December 25 they won't be immune to freeze for that respect to actually. In our case out tax rules clothes on all of this one in the law says that anything because neglected to begin the anyone who. Who owns probably August want so determined attacks ability -- -- exempt ability on January 1 of the forthcoming year. So that means that person who would be Macon -- maneuvered day in November or December. Can apply laws apply before we close tax rules which Israel declare April spoke -- but I don't submitted and certified and salute. On into October 1 about dorms are. And and and at time wants a general over tax collection the page's -- says that he assesses. Can't go back does the ritual active issuance of post assessment freeze but is -- -- director missions of the holes -- so you have to have a wholesale exemption first. That day and then you have to makes 65 and then you Inco has to be less than what the requirements. Well not -- -- is that once he did did you do crop that is that permanent. Rescue loans they arrested him -- the strip a lot of people who make way boys in math achievement -- they have been qualified for years. So I don't know and when that process is different. Every ten years ago a lot. All right dog may help you with -- dozen bills loophole in the bucket as we -- The hole in the book is that I could make a million dollars and when I'm 64. I'm through gambling losses and everything else might you adjusted gross income home federal tax returns showed that my income below 70000 dollars by a qualified. Next year in and -- -- makes 66 I can make ten million dollars and still frozen. -- -- I think that he's the deal okay. That's dole and go to the reply is I think they're people who knew how to do that and partly we did. -- -- Hi I'm not okay for -- much an operation on what some of the concerns that. Your constituents expressed here. Or about property taxes are basically that this thing I hear most time is that. You have my house that I used to. I'm paying too much in taxes doses -- first two things they -- most frequent from every one. And though we can do is promise to go back and look and try and in regard to look at property regalia to determine whether that there any condition issues that. Exists would that property and may differ from will come out if if if -- it is against the law be to comment you have to be invited us to be invited him -- some -- we are you -- -- -- peoples and pitches and photographs we were. In his is now on the Tennessean Newspaper -- recent newspaper article in the photograph of conditional pick piece of property. And new walls and the reason is is that there's so many homes as Stillman repair. From the outside people will cut the -- on -- betrayal put a new door up for Kurds at the one inside his gut it out. This as little as is not -- -- let him because the people looking at for males and we don't override of interest though it in most cases you'll rebellion based on the. I wanna thank you Gerald Williams I really appreciate this we're gonna get you back we're gonna continue talking about property taxes and always call us if you ever need -- -- points across and thank you for inviting me very very much everybody stay with this. We're not done we'll be right back and Angela -- evidently well. I wanna thank Carol Williams and Tom and -- Benson. And I hope that you watch it a listen to us tomorrow because we're going to be talking happy thoughts. What to do over a beautiful weekend thanks so much for joining us now let's go to the newsroom and Chris Miller.