Archive for June, 2010

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Hammond Finds Error in Taxpayer Favor

June 16, 2010

Hammond homeowners may be due a tax refund.The Tangipahoa Parish Tax Assessor’s office has discovered an error in the Hammond taxpayers’ favor.  It appears that, beginning in 1987, Hammond homeowners were incorrectly charged for taxes within the Hammond school system when they shouldn’t have been.  It was determined to be a human error due to the fact that, at one time, the city’s boundaries and the school district’s boundaries were the same.  However, when the city was annexed over the years, homeowners were erroneously charged for the school district tax in the newly annexed areas.

Even though the taxes were wrongly collected 23 years ago, homeowners can only claim a refund on the error (if they qualify) for 2007, 2008 and 2009, since the law only allows restitution for the last 3 years.  The Assessor’s office wants to assure the public that their 2010 taxes will reflect the correct tax amount due since the error was caught in March of this year.  The total amount of taxes collected for Hammond homeowners in the Woodbridge Subdivision, along Conrad Anderson Road and near North Oaks Hospital over the last three years was more than $100,000.

If you need to file for a refund, you can contact the Tangipahoa Parish Tax Assessor’s office at 748-7181, 748-7176, 345-6226 or 229-6224.  When you file a claim, the staff at the Assessor’s office will look up the property in question, determine what should have been paid in taxes, what actually was paid in taxes and calculate the difference and then they will forward their findings and the claim along to the Louisiana Tax Commission for approval.  The Commission meets every two weeks and must approve each refund before sending it back to the parish’s sheriff’s office to issue a refund.  The Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s office also serves as the parish tax collector.

If you are a homeowner in Hammond, you may have a refund coming your way for overpayment of school taxes over the last 3 years.  It can’t hurt to give the Assessor’s office a call to see if you may be due some money.  This is also a great reminder to check your tax bill for possible errors when you receive it.  That way a problem like this won’t continue to occur over the years and cost you more money.

Yvonne Martin, The Martin Team, Let Our Family Bring Your Family Home to Hammond Real Estate

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How to Prepare for a Hurricane

June 2, 2010

How to prepare for a hurricane.With hurricane weather gearing up here in Southeastern Louisiana, it is important to learn how to prepare for a hurricane ahead of time so you can be ready if one heads your way.

1. Create a Family Disaster Plan

  • Decide which room is the safest spot in the house. It’s also important to determine a safe place to meet up in the community in case you must evacuate the household and get split up.
  • Map out different escape routes from your house and designate an area within a few miles to meet up.
  • Designate a friend or family member who lives out of the area as your contact person for everyone in your family to call in case of separation.  Make sure each family member knows how to contact that person.
  • Decide what to do with your pets in case you must evacuate your home.
  • Keep emergency numbers by the phone.  Make sure each child understands how to dial 9-1-1 as well as when that is appropriate.
  • Check your homeowners insurance.  Some companies consider hurricanes and damage from them as “Acts of God”, meaning they are not covered.
  • Put a radio in with your disaster supply kit.  Replace batteries every 6 months (same time as you would for your smoke detector).
  • Attend CPR, First Aid and disaster preparedness classes.  This applies to just about any age.

2. Create a Disaster Supply Kit

  • 1 gallon of water per person, per day for 3-7 days.
  • Food (enough for 3-7 days per person) – non-perishable items, canned food, baby formula, canned juice, snack foods, non-electric can opener, eating utensils, paper plates, pots, pans and fuel to cook with.
  • Blankets and pillows.
  • Clothes – Include rain gear, sturdy shoes and seasonally appropriate clothing.
  • First Aid Kit – should include any prescription medications as well as things such as bandages of all sizes, hydrogen peroxide, an antibiotic cream (such as Neosporin), over the counter pain reliever, etc.
  • Baby and elderly items – such as disposable diapers, wipes, adult diapers and toys.
  • Hygiene items – toilet paper, wet wipes, soap, dry shampoo, feminine hygiene products, etc.
  • Flashlight with batteries – again, replace batteries in this kit every 6 months.  Doing it at the same time you replace the smoke detector batteries will help you remember.
  • Radio – either battery operated (again change batteries every 6 months) or a hand crank model like those in army surplus stores.
  • Cell phone with extra battery and regular phone you plug in the wall (not cordless).
  • Entertainment – toys, books, games
  • Cash and credit cards – small bills and change work best.  You may not be able to get to a bank or ATM for an extended period of time.
  • Keys
  • Important papers – medical records, insurance documents, social security card, bank statements (for account numbers) all kept in a watertight container (freezer bag works great)
  • Basic tools
  • Pet care items – dog food, water, medical records, leash, muzzle, etc.
  • Keep vehicles fully fueled at all times.

3. Retrofit Your Home – Five Critical Areas to Concentrate On:

  • Roof
  • Straps
  • Shutters
  • Doors
  • Garage doors

Following these steps well ahead of time may save you and your family when disaster strikes.  Getting these steps in place before hand is also a great way to minimize the risks and damages that may occur in a hurricane.  I hope these have helped you learn how to prepare for a hurricane.

Yvonne Martin, your Tangipahoa Parish real estate specialist

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