Dec 20, 2013 6:19 PM by Tina Macias
St. Landry Parish could soon have access to $1.3 million in disputed property tax revenue after a Third Circuit Court of Appeal opinion released this week.
At issue is whether the St. Landry Parish tax assessor correctly classified Spectra Energy Corp's salt caverns as "other property" instead of land. Other property is taxed at a higher rate than land.
Spectra has argued that salt domes are naturally occurring and should be taxed as land, at 10 percent of assessed value.
But a judge sided with assessor Rhyn Duplechain, saying that, although the domes are natural, the "holes in the land" in which they're store are man made and should be taxed at 15 percent.
Those "holes" are worth about $57 million. And although the company believes it should be taxed at 10 percent, it has been paying 15 percent for three years.
The disputed 5 percent -- nearly $500,000 a year -- has been put into a special fund. And at least one entity, the Louisiana Tax Commission has sided with Spectra's argument.
Ultimately, the courts have the final say, Duplechain said, and, Spectra still has the option to appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.