Reader: Facts inaccurate in school board millage piece

‘Revenue neutral’ toughens overhaul
April 3, 2013
Complex to simple – reform the tax systems
April 3, 2013

Dear Editor,

In last Wednesday’s Tri-Parish Times I noted a couple of errors you may wish to correct in future articles, up until election time.

Your front page article about the upcoming School Board Millage election, written by John DeSantis, states that the election will be held on May 5.

A separate article on the same subject gives the date of the election as May 4 – the correct date.

I am working to encourage a large voter turnout for this tax election, which should more truly represent the taxpayers, of Terrebonne and not just the “special interests” – teachers’ unions, food service workers, office staff, bus drivers, custodians, architects, contractors, etc. – all of whom stand to personally benefit if this millage passes.

I can live with the will of the majority, if the majority is fairly represented, in this or any other election.

Voters will vote for or against, as they so choose, which is fine, as most all citizens in this parish, and not just a few, will pay the Tax. This includes persons who rent either houses or apartments, have camps or places of business.

Should this property tax be allowed to rise by 31 mills, landlords will certainly raise rents, as this would represent a massive tax Increase on their properties, which are taxed at 15 percent of full value (not 10 percent as homes are), and also are not homestead exempt, which the proponents of this tax neglected to point out to the voters.

I am trying to encourage as many citizens of this parish as possible to go to the polls and cast their ballots.

However, if we only get a 5 to 10 percent voter turnout, voting on the largest mill increase (times three) than has ever been attempted in the history of Terrebonne Parish going back to 1824, it will not be truly representative of the will of the majority.

If we have a large voter turnout, I won’t complain about the results, and I would hope any registered voters that can’t be bothered to vote don’t complain either.

We get the government and taxes we deserve.

The same article quotes me as saying the assessed value of all the properties in Terrebonne Parish is $97 million. Obviously, this cannot be true. Either I misspoke or was misquoted. The Terrebonne Parish school system’s budge for this school year alone is more than $180 million (see, Government, School Board Budget, 2012-2013).

When dealing with numbers of this size it is easy to misplace a zero or a decimal.

Ernest P. Parra,

Houma, La.

Editor’s Note: The next election in Terrebonne Parish is May 4. Voter registration for that election is open through today. Also, the total assessed value of properties in Terrebonne Parish is $989,814,560, according to the parish Assessor’s Office website. We apologize for any confusion caused by the errors.