"This tax is about the needs, not the wants of the Morehouse Parish School District," Dr. George Noflin firmly stated. "This tax will not be used for a turf football field."
Speculation and rumors abound over how much the tax will increase for taxpayers and while some of the speculation comes close to the truth, the overwhelming majority of it is incorrect.
Morehouse Parish Tax Assessor John Hill broke down the proposed increase in dollars and cents for the average home or business owner.
"A mill is one-tenth of a penny, which you multiply by the assessed value of the home, not the market value of the home," Hill explained. "The assessed value is actually 10 percent of market value.
So, for a 9 mill property tax, homeowners would not see their taxes doubling, they would actually see an increase of, at the most $225, which would be on a home valued at $250,000 and no homestead exemption."
If the homeowner is still paying on the home and taxes are taken out each month through escrow, in this particular instance, it would be an increase of $18.75 a month.
The highest millage rate in Morehouse Parish is 97 mills and that ward is not in the "West" School District. Wards 6 and 7 have the highest millage, at 94 mils, in the District of the proposed tax. Only parts of Ward 6 are eligible to vote. Millage in Ouachita Parish averages out to be around 150 mills.
Other Wards under the proposal are
• Ward 1, which is currently at 84 mills and would increase to 93 mills
• Ward 3, which is currently at 84 mills and would increase to 93 mills
• Ward 4, which inside the city limits is currently at 75 mills and would increase to 84 mills and outside the city limits is currently at 84 mills and would increase to 93 mills
• Parts of Ward 9, which is currently at 86 mills and would increase to 95 mills
For a home owned in Ward 7 valued at $200,000, the current taxes are $1,775 a year with homestead exemption. The proposal would increase this homeowner's tax by $112.50 per year, making the total owed $1,887.50. If still in escrow, the payment would increase from $98 a month to $157 a month.
For those owning homes inside the city limits, where homestead exemption does not apply, they will have to pay, but will follow the parish tax structure meaning property is allowed the exemption.
The proposed tax would bring in $732,500 a year for the next 10 years and Noflin adamantly contends by the tax's usage will be for a Sixth Grade Academy and following that, other building repairs.