2nd TRY: Hammond plans millage adoption meeting
HAMMOND---The City of Hammond will host a public hearing about the adoption of its 2020 millage rates on Tuesday, September 22, at 5:30pm at the city council chambers, 312 East Charles Street.
This is a new date for the hearing that was originally scheduled for September 8 since the ordinances were not introduced at the August 25 meeting due to the lack of a quorum.
“The good news is we don’t have to start over, so there are no additional costs for the overall process. We’re fortunate that the Tangipahoa Assessor’s Office and Louisiana Legislative Auditor are also working with us,” said Lacy Landrum, City Administrator. “We’ve been working on this since June. It’s a lengthy and complex process in a reassessment year. If you miss one of the many steps, you can lose the ability to collect any property taxes for the year. That would be a $4.8 million hit to the budget.”
Adopting millage rates in a reassessment year takes two ordinances. The first ordinance adopts the adjusted rates from the Tangipahoa Assessor’s Office. The second ordinance uses a process called “rolling forward,” which allows the city to push the rates to the same level that were used last year. These are also the same rates authorized by the voters in prior elections. Using the authorized rates ensures that the city can collect the proper amounts of taxes due to make the most community improvements for residents.
The city plans to adopt three millage rates: one for general purposes (9.04 mills), one for fire and police (10 mills) and one for public works (2 mills) for a total millage rate of 21.04.
This was an unusual year for the city because the millage adoption training offered through the Legislative Auditor was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Four employees were scheduled to attend the training in April to review the basic procedures and to learn about any law changes. They completed an online recorded training instead.
Another complication was 2020 as an election year for the renewal of the fire and police millage. That election date was moved from May to July and later to August. Elections regarding new and renewed millages can impact how those millages are represented in the ordinances used to set the rates.
The ordinances are now scheduled to be introduced at the September 8 regular council meeting. A public hearing and a vote for final adoption of each ordinance will be at the September 22 regular meeting.
After the ordinances are adopted, an entire millage packet is forwarded to the assessor’s office. They combine the city’s rates with the other taxing entities to create the complete tax roll for the parish. They also send all the millage packets and the tax roll to be reviewed by the Legislative Auditor. Once that review is complete, the tax roll is returned to the assessors in November so that the local taxing entities can begin sending property tax notices to residents.