Representatives of the Pine Prairie Energy Center were at Monday’s meeting of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury to protest action by the assessor’s office to tax property that belongs to the Industrial Development Board.
During the meeting, the jury recessed and became a board of review to review protests from property owners over their tax bills.
Kimberly Robinson representing Plains Marketing and Pine Prairie Energy Center addressed the police jury to protest being taxed for property such as pipeline and equipment that was transferred to the Parish Industrial Development Board. Robinson said that court and attorney general opinions show that such property should not be subject to ad valorum taxes. The companies have filed claims asking for a refund in back taxes they have paid under protest.
Robinson said the companies agreed to pilot payments in lieu of property taxes with the parish industrial development board.
Jury legal advisor Marcus Fontenot advised Robinson that the police jury cannot address her complaints. The jury can only review complaints from property owners over their assessments not over whether they should be exempt from the tax rolls.
The jury approved the tax rolls and its assessments by a vote of 8-1 with only juror Lamar Johnson voting no.
In other business, the police jury approved raising sewer rates by $5 a month to some 400 customers of its sewer systems in the parish effective in November. Customers are currently paying $20 a month. The last time sewer rates have increased was 20 years ago. Beginning in November, sewer customers will see a 2 percent increase in rates every year for the next five years.
Also the jury is considering trying a chemical company to help control road side vegetation and road side mowing. Joe Doles with Nature Chem made a proposal to the police jury of $6800 for at least 100 miles of chemical spraying . He said all of the herbicide chemicals are EPA and state approved.
The police jury is applying for a $100,000 LGAP state grant to help for the cost of adding security measures to the courthouse facility. Sal Militello with Homeland Security Safety Systems presented a proposal to beef up security measures at the courthouse at a cost of $75,000.
In other action the police jury:
–asked the public to report those who are throwing trash and litter on Duos Road and St. John road;
–approved the appointment of Michelle Messer and Roger Fontenot to the Ward Four Fire District Board.