Erroll Williams: Higher property assessments don’t have to mean higher taxes

Assessor’s letter to the editor posted at

I would like to thank the people of New Orleans for a remarkably successful open rolls period. We made over 130,000 changes to property values, and the long lines that historically have been synonymous with this time of year were nowhere to be seen.

Now with the assessment rolls closed, I want to make it known that I recognize the concern this year’s quadrennial revaluation caused in our community, especially in light of the skyrocketing cost of home insurance and the stubborn persistence of inflation.

Let me take this opportunity to clarify a few things.

As a whole, Orleans Parish property owners will not pay more in taxes because real estate market values went up and assessments are higher.

The state constitution reads, “the total amount of ad valorem taxes collected by any taxing authority… shall not be increased or decreased because of a reappraisal.”

This means when values go up in the four years between quadrennial reappraisals, the Louisiana Constitution requires a corresponding reduction in the millage rate. This ensures that total tax revenues don’t change just because of the real estate market. This is referred to as a “roll back.”

The numbers won’t be final until the rolls are certified in October, but as of right now there is a 23% increase in total taxable assessments. This means the millage rate will go down 23%, from 146.81 mills to 113.04.

However, each taxing authority can vote to raise the millage rate right back up. This is referred to as a “roll forward.”

To raise the millage rates after the automatic reduction, taxing authorities must:
• Publish two separate notices in public journals announcing their consideration of a millage at a public hearing at least 30 days in advance of the meeting
• Hold an advertised, open and public hearing to consider their vote to increase taxes
• Approve the tax increase with a 2/3 supermajority vote of members

I urge all taxpayers in Orleans Parish to be engaged as the City Council, School Board, Sewerage & Water Board, Sheriff, and other authorities determine whether to raise your taxes.

The roll back required by law is there to protect you, so make your voice heard. Orleans Parish taxpayers don’t have to pay more because real estate market values went up.

Assessor, Orleans Parish