Voter's Guide, 2021 Fall Elections, New Orleans
Position Assessor
NameErroll G Williams

Campaign Information

Campaign Web Site

Bio Information

Party AffiliationDemocrat
Present Employer / positionAssessor, Orleans Parish
Length of residence in Jurisdiction70 years
List of educational institutions and degreesDillard University, BA in Accounting
Tulane University, MBA
Prior elected and appointed positionsAssessor, 3rd Municipal District
Chief Administrative Officer, City of New Orleans
Director of Finance, City of New Orleans
Civic involvement and affiliationsDillard University, Board Member
Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club
Louisiana Assessors’ Association
International Association of Assessing Officers
ACLU Member

Questions specific to the position

1. What suggestions do you have for changing the assessment laws? After trying for the past decade and a half we were able to pass a Constitutional Amendment through the legislature that puts a 10 percent cap on annual assessment increases for properties with a Homestead Exemption. I'm incredibly grateful for the hard work Rep. Matthew Willard put in to get that bill passed. Of course, it's a Constitutional Amendment so it will require passing by way of a statewide referendum in November 2022, so the work there isn't done.

Some other legislative items I'd like to see passed include:
- Allowing STR's to be assessed like commercial properties, right now we have to treat them like residential properties which isn't fair to actual residential property owners, nor is it fair to Bed and Breakfasts/hotels/motels who are getting assessed at the 15 percent commercial rate rather than 10 percent residential rate.
- Making the disability freeze permanent. This is another one we were able to get passed through the Legislature but it failed to pass the statewide referendum. This is an unnecessary burden to put on this population. You need to be permanently disabled to get the freeze in the first place, so it makes sense for the freeze to be permanent too!
- We need to fix our approach to assessing affordable housing units-- We must pass a law which provides tax increase protection for affordable housing homeowners. There is protection for affordable housing rental owners but none for single family homeowners.
2. Should assessors have influence on adjusting tax exemptions? No. Our job is to determine fair market value in an equitable, transparent manner. We process and apply exemptions as determined by law and Louisiana Tax Commission policy. This is a responsibility that needs to fall upon a legislative body and implemented by an assessor. An assessor having the discretion to adjust exemptions while being constitutionally required to determine fair market value I believe would create a conflict of interest and lend itself towards selective utilization and possible abuse.
3. Do you favor a change in reducing the number of exempt properties? Please explain. I do, but only on income producing properties. Nonprofit organizations serve a purpose beneficial to the community and, ostensibly, reducing the burden on government. This is an issue my office has litigated no few times with varying degrees of success. In Orleans Parish less than 10 percent of parcels are exempt, but in terms of value, those exempt parcels equate to nearly a third of all value. I don't think vacant parcels owned by nonprofit organizations should be exempt according to state law. We challenged this issue in court and lost. I don't think property owned by nonprofit organizations that are used for commercial purposes should be exempt either. We took that to court and won. The latest case we're involved in in this respect is about a nonprofit organization who built a hotel. I think that hotel counts as a commercial use and should be on the tax roll.

Ultimately, I'm always going to do what I believe is the right thing to do that is in accordance to state law and in line with universally recommended practices of the International Association of Assessing Officers. If there is an entity that qualifies for an exemption under law, it is not in my authority to deny them. If there is some grey area there, I'll seek clarification, but I'm always going to follow what the law says.

That said, I do believe that exempt property owners of income producing property (rental property) should at minimum pay for basic city services like police and fire millages.