Monday, December 03, 2007

It just keeps getting better.

I checked with the Louisiana Tax Commission this morning. They are getting tired of this as well. They weren't as cheerful as they were yesterday and kept asking me why I wanted the information. I don't really blame them, they have work to do. They did tell me there were 1530 total appeals filed for Orleans Parish.They gave me the following breakdown of the appeals by Municipal District.
  • First Municipal District - Darren G. Mire - 188 appeals
  • Second Municipal District - Claude T. Mauberret - 108 appeals
  • Third Municipal District - Erroll G. Williams - 771 appeals
  • Fourth Municipal District - Betty Jefferson - 162 appeals
  • Fifth Municipal District - Thomas L. Arnold - 24 appeals
  • Sixth Municipal District - Nancy J. Marshall - 219 appeals
  • Seventh Municipal District - Henry F. Heaton - 59 appeals

There was a big article in the paper today and they quoted the assessors extensively, in the light most favorable to the assessors. Nancy Marshall is going after the 12 people on Audubon Place, I'm sure thats interesting to the 207 other people she is appealing as well. Claude Mauberret said he looked at every single property, I wish Erroll Williams had done that. He could have seen that every house on my block flooded and that some have been repaired and some haven't, including mine and one of my neighbors. A couple of the appraisers commented that the hearings were too taxpayer friendly and that they couldn't attend every one. Yet the law allows the taxpayer to visit the assessor to discuss their assessment and seek an adjustment. Oyster shares his feeling on our assessors.

The assessors as public servants were unable to accommodate all of the taxpayers during their normal office hours, but were unwilling to make any accommodation to extend those hours or seek alternate methods of talking to their taxpayers. At the end of the period I know that Erroll Williams took all of the people from the third district waiting to see him into the Council Chambers and told people who had been waiting outside in the heat that they had to file and appeal by mail.

I wish someone from the assessors office had come to our appeal. I could have showed then the documentation we had available to show them when she waited in line for hours, only to be denied access to a public official. All we want is an opportunity to correct an obvious mistake. Instead we have had to expend several days of time to gather information, wait in line outside in August. Attend an appeal at the Superdome. We will have to do it all over again.

Perhaps Mr. Williams will see fit to actually visit the properties before the hearings so he can speak knowledgeably about them. I doubt I'll see him, I'll most likely see his attorney. Once again I'll be the only one in the room not getting paid to be there. The only good news is that the appeal are supposed to be complete by Decemeber 31, according to the RFP the Louisiana Tax Commission published for the hearing contractor.

We have had occasion to visit Mr. Williams' office twice recently and in both cases we had to wait an hour to speak to one of the people in the office. I never saw Mr. Williams while I was there. Amazingly every other assessor had no line at all. I actually saw a couple of the other assessors and Betty Jefferson actually came out to the counter to deal with one matter.Most of the matters were routine, usually involving homested exemptions. I wonder why his office is not adequately staffed for the number of citizens seeking assistance. I know the Third District is much larger than the other districts but Mr. Williams seems to have 15 or 20 times as many visitors as the other assessors and no more staff.

I notice that although Mr. Williams filed the bulk of the appeals, he isn't quoted in the paper.

"If (the Board of Review) was within 20 percent of where I was, I left it alone," said 3rd District Assessor Erroll Williams, who filed about 725 appeals. "We're only challenging the ones we think are way out of whack."
Mine was out of "whack" My house was appraised at full value while it is sitting gutted, waiting to be repaired. I wonder what steps, if any of the assessors have taken to see it they might have made and error? None of the are admitting any problems on their end.


Leigh C. said...

Yes, Williams is quoted in the paper. I pinpointed the quote in my latest post.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Dist. 6 and Lake Broadmoor! Yep, full value appraisal after 6+ feet of water for two weeks. Neighbor's house appraised 40% BELOW 12/05 sales price after being fully renovated by a "flipper" (granite counters, another bath, mmmm)! So Marshall, the "I Quit" "reformer" screwed da pooch as badly or worse than everyone else. Isn't it some kinda fraud to promise you'll quit, then refuse to do so? Anyway, I got some relief from one of the old-timers she still had on her staff. On the occasions I went to her office and her off-site appeal meeting place at Latter Library, only a few of the hold-over staff people were doing all the work, while she and her cronies yucked it up like it was some kinda party. Disgusted is too mild a term. I know Williams is your district's curse, but Marshall is worse. The whole system is about to get even more hellish, as we lose all representation in this particularly personal and direct area of taxation. Meanwhile, church, gummint, school board, and certain connected and formerly connected slum-lords aren't paying any taxes and that isn't changing at all. My battle cry is gummint, LEAVE ME ALONE! Give me nothing and take nothing from me! The former is already the case.