he Daily Review/Bill Decker
The Patterson city government's Knock Knock Campaign collects information that can be used to help residents when disaster strikes.
From the editor: In Patterson, Knock Knock is no joke
PATTERSON — People seem more reluctant to give up personal information these days. After the IRS hack, the Sony hack, the Democratic National Committee hack and more, who can blame them?
But if you live in Patterson, you’ll want to make an exception for the Knock Knock Disaster Preparedness Campaign.
The campaign came up at Tuesday’s Patterson City Council meeting. Police officers, including Police Chief Janis Merritt, have been going door to door to get current information such as cellphone and landline numbers, current addresses, whether family members have physical or mental disabilities, and whether family members need electricity for oxygen delivery, CPAP machines and the like.
People who come to City Hall to pay bills are also being asked for the information.
Mayor Rodney Grogan said Tuesday that younger people are more reluctant to provide information than their elders.
But the information can help the city government deal with evacuations necessitated by disasters such as hurricanes and gas pipeline breaks like the one last month near Franklin, and water system shutdowns, which seem minor until your town has one.
Updated data can tell emergency service providers who might need help getting out of their homes in an evacuation. And automated calls can tell you evacuation routes to avoid or use should you have to leave your home.
The latter point can save you some grief.
My first hurricane was Andrew in August 1992. After the evacuation orders but before the hurricane struck, the southern end of Interstate 49 — which has to be counted among the most important northward evacuation routes in Louisiana — became a long, skinny parking lot. With a hurricane bearing down, you don’t want to be caught in that.
Also Tuesday, the Patterson council approved the millage rates property owners will pay come November and December. Or, if you’re like me, come January or February.
The council decided to keep the rates at 8.20 mills for general city government purposes and 14 mills for the capital outlays that includes the new water plant.
But does that tell you anything? “Millage” refers to a coin that doesn’t exist anymore, so the concept can seem vague. Here’s what it’s about:
A mill is 1/10th of a cent of tax applied to each $1 of assessed valuation.
Assessed valuation is the portion of your property that is subject to tax. In Louisiana, that’s 10 percent of the market value, as determined by the parish assessor, of your residential property. Other classes of property have their own rates.
If you want to figure your tax liability on the back of an envelope, start with 10 percent of your home’s market value.
Then multiply .001 times the millage rate — in this case, 22.2 mills. The result is .0222.
Now multiply that by your home’s assessed valuation. If your home is worth $100,000, for example, you’ll pay $222 ($10,000 in assessed valuation times .0222). That’s your annual city property tax bill.
That’s for city taxes. For most other kinds of property taxes, Louisiana has a homestead exemption. That means you don’t pay taxes on the first $75,000 of a primary home’s market value, or the first $7,500 of assessed valuation.
We passed a milestone last week. The Daily Review’s Facebook page got its 10,000th “like.” That’s roughly equal to half the people in the cities in our circulation area. And that’s not bad.
Just as important as the number of people who use our website, StMaryNow.com, and our Facebook page is the way those people behave.
Being an online editor at another job made me feel like a combination referee, language cop and kindergarten teacher. The folks who make comments on our sites have turned them into a very gentle place to share the joys of engagements, school achievements and business promotions, and a place to mourn together when someone passes away.
Bill Decker is managing editor of The Daily Review. Reach him at 985-384-8370.