Rapides assessor adjusts some property values for elected officials; repercussions limited

ALEXANDRIA — Rapides Parish Assessor Rick Ducote has updated some of his numbers after the Illuminator published an investigation that revealed he assigned super low property values for multiple elected officials, resulting in minimal tax obligations — and even tax bills totaling zero in some cases. 

Sheriff Mark Wood, for example, has been billed $0 for property taxes on his own home for at least the past seven years. His predecessor and five members of Rapides Parish Police Jury have also received generous property valuations that resulted in minimal to zero tax bills, according to publicly available parish records.

But for neighbors who want to point out these errors or oversights, there are no official channels to pursue. Other than elections every four years that could replace them, state law contains negligible measures to hold accountable assessors who make gross mistakes or are perceived to show favoritism in their valuations. 

Property owners can appeal their own assessments they feel are too high through their local board of review and, if still not satisfied, to the Louisiana Tax Commission. But that’s where the options for remedy end.

Read the article at Louisiana Illuminator