The Civil Division of the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office has many different functions and responsibilities that affect most, if not all, citizens in Natchitoches Parish. As prescribed by law, the sheriff in all parishes in Louisiana is the appointed tax collector. Therefore, it is the Civil Division’s responsibility for the accurate accounting of collected taxes and the dispersing of the funds to each governmental agency in the parish.
“One of our jobs is to collect and disperse the taxes that have been approved by citizens,” said Chad Nelson, Major of the Civil Division.
“However, we also handle many different payment transactions for the citizens for a variety of purposes,” said Nelson.
Annual Property Taxes and Tax Sales
Property owners who owe property taxes remit payment to the Civil Division, which is due by December 31st each year. Since 2012, the division has collected, accounted for, and dispersed over $85 million in property taxes, averaging $28 million per year.
Unpaid taxes are considered late on January 1st, as required by law, and are considered delinquent if not paid before the Annual Tax Sale in May.
The Civil Division conducts the annual tax sale for properties that are delinquent in their tax payments. Since 2012, there have been 284 property tax debts that have been sold at the annual tax sale.
During a tax sale, a person or entity may purchase the right to pay the delinquent taxes and accrue interest on the debt from the original property owner.
Civil Fines and Court Orders
All civil judgements and fines ordered by the 10th Judicial District Court are paid through the Civil Bureau.
The Bureau administers, collects and disperses wage garnishments as directed by the court. Since 2012, the Bureau managed 838 wage garnishments.
The Bureau also supervises misdemeanor probation for the district court. A payment schedule is established with the probationers so they can fulfill their obligations to the court. Since 2013, over $900,000 has been collected in assessed fines for the court by the Civil Bureau.
Additionally, the Bureau serves all civil process documents for the court, including property foreclosures, lawsuit petitions, and subpoenas.
“We serve all papers in the parish, with the exception of city court. In addition to service, we administer bank foreclosures after they have been adjudicated by the court,” said Major Chad Nelson, supervisor for bank foreclosures in the Bureau.
The Civil Bureau is responsible for managing multiple accounts for tax collections and civil fines. Major Nelson also serves as the custodian of public records held at the NPSO. All records are available for inspection by the public during business hours at no charge.