Parish Council denies tax exemption applications, looks at scaling down Council Clerk position

Parish Council members unanimously voted against approving tax exemption applications for Martco LLC and Alliance Compressors at its meeting Monday night, Aug. 17. The gist of the Council’s take on giving companies tax breaks was that it’s time companies start putting money toward repairing the roads of Natchitoches Parish.

In other business, Public Works Director Johnny Salard reported that the Highway Department worked on 149 roads in July. Parish President John Richmond reported TESI has gone silent over the last two weeks as the Parish is in the middle of negotiations for the donation of the Payne Subdivision sewer system. A board was established and its first meeting will take place on Aug. 18.

Members of the community also attended the Council meeting to question Council members about who added the introduction of an ordinance to the agenda to amend the Parish of Natchitoches Personnel Manual to provide that, effective Jan. 1, 2021, the job position of Council Clerk is a part-time position. Council member Jim Kilcoyne added the item to the agenda. Kilcoyne and Chris Paige were appointed the newly formed Finance and Budget Committee at the June 16 meeting. The committee was supposed to find ways for the Parish to cut expenses to save money.

However, Paige was adamant that he had no part in putting the item on the agenda. “I don’t like ambushing people like this,” he said. “It’s not right.”

Other agenda items included:

Introduction of Ordinance 015-2020 for budget amendment for Highway Fund, CoCo Bed Capital Outlay Fund, Fish Hatchery Capital Outlay Fund, Old River Road Capital Outlay Fund, and 201 Capital Outlay Fund.

Adopt Ordinance No 014-2020 to effect a zoning change from City District to a B-2 Business District for the purpose of establishing a Family Dollar on Lots 1&2, Block 24 of the Chaplins Addition and Lots 5&6, Block 19 of the Chaplins Addition with physical addresses of 8894 and 8896 Texas Street in Robeline.

Approve rolling forward Road District 40.

Grant an extension to the Finance Department for submitting the 2021 budget to accommodate acceptance of quotes from different insurance providers who would not be able to submit their information to the Finance Department before the September deadline as required by the Home Rule Charter.

Authorize the Parish President to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Cane River Waterway Commission for the rehabilitation for Bermuda Road with final approval to come from the Council.

Authorize Parish President to seek bids for the pulverization of designated roads in District 4 and District 5.

 


16 thoughts on “Parish Council denies tax exemption applications, looks at scaling down Council Clerk position

  1. To Phil

    My information is different than yours re: reassessments, etc.. Mine comes straight from the Assessor’s Office and has been confirmed by another source. I will not question your intelligence as you have of mine. But, we are operating from a different set of facts. So, what is YOUR source on the tax issue?

    As for the tax exemptions, there may be more news on that front. But even if nothing changes, I remain comfortable with my decision, as I explained in the other post.

    Lincoln said “Can’t please all the people, all the time.” This is a time when you and I disagree. Maybe you’ll like other decisions I make. In any case, I will remain as transparent as possible.

    Thanks for your input.

    • I had some time so I did some research based on the Assessors Site and a local real estate business sold listings. 8 homes that have sold in the last year. Assessed value of the 8 homes on the assessor site was $2,295,500 sold for $2,517,500 a difference of $222,000. I am not saying they are all in the Dist 40 taxing district but as a representative of the whole parish assessment, but if they were in the Dist 40 than the 5 mills would have been $1,110 to the road tax the parish wide tax of 58.89 mills would be an additional $13,073.58 to the parish. THAT IS 8 HOUSES.

      Imagine if we were like Texas and reassessed our property all the time? it wouldnt be popular but some people are paying much less than they should.

      One house for sale on a real estate site on is listed for $860,000 and the assessed value by the Assessor is $589,200. That is $270,800.00 difference. That house last sold in 2006 for more than it is assessed now?

      Explain that please?

      • I have not looked at these 8 houses. I will not attempt to explain these specific cases. The new tax assessor is better suited to address specific questions. I will not comment further regarding past assessor practices. I will say that with new people in office(s) now is a good time to address some needed changes.

  2. I hope these funds are put towards roads in the parish and not towards parish councils salaries. As to TESI, point place uses their services. I have 4 properties and the sewage runs $41-$43 per month. If there is issues with Payne subdivision residents paying for sewage now wait till they get their bill from TESI.

    • Parish President John Richmond is handling the negotiations, together with an attorney who specializes in such matters. As Mr. Richmond reported at the council meeting, TESI has gone silent, no contact for at least two weeks. TESI has sent crews out to perform some maintenance on the sewer system recently.

      Last night the newly appointed board met for the first time. Mr. Richmond was present for it. I hope to get a report today.

      The Parish of Natchitoches is not on the hook for anything pertaining to the Payne Subdivision sewer system. There is an independent board and entity, “Sewer District #2” that is set to receive the donation of the system whenever TESI is ready to make it. As of this moment, nothing has changed. TESI still owns the system.

      NOTE: in order for the grant money to come to the new privately owned/operated Sewer District #2 the parish has to first receive the donation from TESI and pass it through to the board. The ordinance passed by the Parish Council to allow this to happen is very explicit and protects the parish, and taxpayers, from being stuck with any “bills.” As I recall that is Parish Ordinance 05-2020 and is in the public record.

      To more specifically address your question, the parish is offering nothing to TESI. They either agree to accept the terms of a free and clear donation, or they continue to own the system. Period.

  3. I guess you could say the same thing about the Commission, if 30k is the difference maker then you have to wonder about the competence of the Commission. Make a deal, then keep it. Oh, if you are worried about protecting the taxpayers then push to get rid of the Cane River Waterway Commission and save millions. You might also want to look at the library and the Ambulance funding while you are at it. Talk about bottomless pits.

    • On the Ambulance…I would assume most people want to keep ambulance service for the parish. Right now, the NRMC is helping, a lot, by subsidizing parish ambulance service to the tune of $1.1 million annually. Recently the hospital board, upon which I also serve, voted to roll forward millage to secure $100K in additional tax revenue. That is what lowered the hospital’s subsidy to $1.1 million from $1.2 million. This is not something the NRMC has to do by law or by contract, but if they didn’t we parish residents would have to kick in more tax dollars or lose ambulance service.

      Why do you refer to ambulance funding as a bottomless pit? Can you elaborate?

      Additionally, again not because they have to, the NRMC is helping fund the parish Coroner’s Office with an annual $100K contribution.

      As for the library, in 2017 parish voters renewed, for another 10 years, the 8 mills funding for it. I have been told by a couple of local sources “sorry, the voters have spoken, nothing can be done until it comes up for renewal in 2027.” We, and by we, I mean a couple of council members, will be looking into this further. At 8 mills the library is the single largest property tax recipient of all parish entities.

      • Employees, and the never ending cost of those. Also duplication in city services. Much more cost effective way to provide this service. Would love to see the numbers on the cost per run and just how many of these calls are true emergency runs in the Parish. Time to think out side of the box in Natchitoches. Or just keep doing the same things and eventually you want need an ambulance …you will need a helicopter to get to those that need emergency service.

  4. Authorize the Parish President to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Cane River Waterway Commission for the rehabilitation for Bermuda Road with final approval to come from the Council.

    Didn’t learn anything from this past weekend election! Keep doing what the people are against and you will be voted out! CRWC members just because you were appointed does not make you untouchable!

  5. The ignorance of the Parish Council is at an all time high. To not provide the exemption for two of the Parish’s largest employers is so short sighted. Alliance employs over 600 employees who all pay property taxes, sales taxes, and live in Natchitoches. These decisions is what makes economic development almost impossible in this Parish. If you dont think these companies can choose to move their businesses you are dumb.

    When you lose 600 people employed the Parish will receive much less than they would receive by granting the exemption.

    Idiots! No intelligence at all.

    Kilcoyne most of all should be embarassed as a former SBA officer. To not understand how tax exemptions attract business and effect the business climate is outrageous.

    • In keeping with my policy to be as transparent as possible, I can explain why I voted the way I did on this matter.

      1.) The other taxing entities who had to decide to grant an exemption, or not, for both Alliance and Martco, did. The grand total of exempted taxes those two entities were not having to pay were for Alliance rounded off, $68,700 and Martco $28,000. They will retain roughly 2/3 of their exemptions. I figured neither would uproot $multi-million facilities for the sake of $23,000 for Alliance and $9,200 for Martco. If those small figures decides the health of those businesses, they are on very shaky ground and won’t last much longer.

      2) This means that about $32,200 will “pour” into the Parish Government. Not much, but when the Council had voted to roll forward millage for District 40, costing those taxpayers about $25,000, we didn’t feel right upping parish residents additional taxes then turning around and handing it to two corporations.

      3). Yes, I fully understand the value of tax exemptions when trying to attract new business and when current businesses want to expand, but this was not the case for either company. If either company plans to expand they can apply for a tax emption from the parish council and we’ll consider it in the future.

      You might still not agree, but I wanted you, and any others, to know my reasoning.

      • I hope you know and understand that businesses look at these type of statements made by government entities when considering locating or expandng businesses. Why would Emerson or Martco consider an “unfriendly business environment” when making multi-millin dollar decisions?

        This is what makes it incredibly difficult to attract business to the area.

        They may not uproot a business immediately but these decisions move the thought process and may have begin the process to move operations. These large businesses are looking for tax incentives and accounting benefits and I would guess that Alliance already provides much more charitable donations to the community.

        As far as rolling the millage forward, how about you explaining to the public that you dd not “raise” their taxes. When you roll it forawrd you are keepingthe same tax rate and only people who saw a value increase in their property are paying more, WHICH THEY SHOULD.

        • Your last paragraph is true. But, property tax payers in District 40 will see larger tax bills as a result of the recent reassessments that raised property values. We could have not rolled forward and their tax bills would not have changed.

          The council did not roll forward any others, such as for the library, health unit.

          As for the tax emptions discussed. Neither company even so much as bothered to send someone to a council meeting or contact the council. Seems like it must not have meant much to them.

          • If the council was truly concerned about raising funds they would require the Tax Assessor to reasses all property in the Parish. it seems that property is only reassessed when it sells. Many homes are severely under assessed. It seems more to be about who you have known in te past. I would bet the Road 40 tax would increase by almost 50% if they looked at that alone.

            Not granting these exemptions to our biggest employers is cutting off the leg of the future.

            The people would would have paid more district 40 tax are the people whos property calue increased. IT is not everybody.

            I was hoping you would bring some intelligence to the baord but it seems i may have been mistaken

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