Sept. 27, 2012 05:34
A downtown property owner is challenging the revaluation of two commercial buildings on Jefferson Street, where the latest reassessment prompted drastic increases in property values for commercial structures located in the city's central business district. The City-Parish Council is slated to hear appeals Tuesday from five commercial real estate owners who are challenging the recent parishwide reassessment of property values. Two of the commercial buildings up for discussion at the council meeting are located on Jefferson Street, an area of town that saw dramatic increases in property values - and higher property tax bills - following this year's reassessment.

According to the CPC agenda for Tuesday's meeting, Roselawn Properties Inc., owned by former Lafayette Parish councilwoman Kathy Ashworth, is requesting that the council decrease the listed property values at 220 and 736 Jefferson St. The downtown buildings in question house Shakers Night Club and Marc Isaac Salon and have been valued at $1.38 million and $283,862, respectively. The appeal before the council calls for the Shakers building to be assessed using a commercial value of $524,176, more than $850,000 less than the Lafayette Parish Tax Assessor's Office calculated during the 2012 state-mandated reassessment period. The property owner is also asking that the salon building's property value be decreased to $198,770.

As IND Monthly noted in its September news story, "Taxing Times," most commercial buildings in the city's central business district saw a hefty increase in property values during this reassessment period after a 2011 IND Monthly investigation found several seemingly low downtown property values listed at the assessor's office. Lower property values equal less property taxes that fund Lafayette Parish public schools and other critical services.

Before goint to the council, property owners take their case to Assessor Conrad Comeaux's office, the first step in the reassessment appeals process. According to Comeaux's website, property owners must first meet with a deputy assessor and "prove that the parish's assessment of your property exceeded market value and explain why." If property owners disagree with the deputy assessor's decision, their next available recourse is to go before the City-Parish Council and request a revaluation.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the CPC auditorium at City Hall. Click here for the full agenda.

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