Tax Notices Sent Out, Most Receive Good News

Homesteaded property owners who bought before the real estate boom will see higher taxes.

Palm Coast, FL – August 28, 2009 – Palm Coast and Flagler County, Florida residents will receive their TRIM (Truth in Millage) notices in the mail this week. The notices inform residents of the taxable value of their home and the proposed tax rates of each of the taxing authorities that affect the property and how much the total tax bill on the property would be if all the rates are approved as proposed.

What goes around, comes around.

A quirk in the way the Save Our Homes Amendment works provides retributive justice against homesteaded Floridians. These are the people who avoided tax increases for the past several years even as government spending soared on the wings of new construction and the inflating taxable value of non-homesteaded property.

Winners and losers

Losers: Homesteaded property owners who bought before the real estate boom.
Save Our Homes kept the assessed value of their homes way below the market value by limiting the annual increase to the lesser of any CPI increase or 3%. Even after two successive years of declining home prices, the assessed value is still likely less than market value. If it is, the law requires the assessed value be raised. The preliminary market value of our home dropped $61,163 at the same time the assessed value was raised $1,962. Our property tax will increase $515.56 (12.5%) under the proposed budgets because millage rates are rising to offset declining taxable values.
Winners: Everybody else.

From a news release by Flagler County

For most property owners the notice will bring good news since 63.5 percent will see their property tax bills remain the same or drop while 36.5 percent will see an increase. The rates on the notice are proposed rates and may be lowered before they are finally adopted.
“We are working hard to hold the line in Flagler County,” County Administrator Craig Coffey said. “Our proposed budget is stretched as thin as possible while still maintaining the essential services that most residents expect from their County government.”
In most cases Flagler County makes up less than one third of a home owner’s tax bill. The cities, mosquito control, the Flagler County School Board and other taxing districts are included in the total bill. Flagler County is in its third year of fewer employees, decreased spending and is operating on cumulatively $6 million dollars less than just three years ago.
Flagler County has cut its workforce nearly 20 percent in the past two years (more than 60 positions), cut spending significantly and is proposing a tax rate for the coming fiscal year that will bring in nearly $2 million less in tax revenue than this year. Regardless of the tax rate the County is not proposing a tax increase for the 2009-2010 fiscal year and is taking in less tax revenue.
The proposed tax rate is 5.3604. It is lower than any of the surrounding counties for the same services, in some cases by a wide margin. The increase in the tax rate is about 81 cents per thousand dollars of taxable value higher than the current tax rate however 21 cents of the increase is to pay for voter approved debt and environmentally sensitive lands.
Part of the reason for the decrease is lower property values in Flagler County. The total property value for Flagler County dropped 16.6 percent as of January 1 of this year. The taxable value of property in the county is determined by the Property Appraiser and by state law is based on January 1 of this year and not the current value of the property.
The tax rate is higher but taxes are in fact being lowered because the county is collecting and operating on less property tax.  

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3 replies
  1. David Sullivan
    David Sullivan says:

    Tax Notices

    I hope everyone understands that we just spent $5.5 Million on a public golf course in the middle of a recession. There are plenty of golf courses in the area. We now have a situation where the private golf courses took the chance on building here on their dime now will have to compete with a publically funded facility. So the limited number of golfers (say 250 regulers) can now thank all the taxpayers in Flagler/Palm Coast for underwriting their golf. In addition to the initial investment the Course will not even cover operating expenses for years to come. Good deal for us golfers but not such a good deal for the average non golfer tax payer. I think the new public course will be an asset to the community but did all the taxpayers really understand how much this was costing them? Does not bode well for a place like the Conservatory or any of the other private courses in the area. So tax rates go up at the same time that people’s income are going down, no big deal, right?

  2. John Boy
    John Boy says:

    Tax Notice

    My assessed valuation went down by $28,000. yet my taxes went up 18%. This is cause by the incompetent fools that we have running the City, County and School District. All of them think we are still in a booming economy, why aren’t we laying off school adminstrators, firrmen and cops? How many bus drivers have we fired because school busing distances have changed? We should ne firing at least half of the city workers driving around in pickup trucks. The golf course, tennis centerneed to be sold. Salaries and benefits for all employees need to be cut. The local governments are facing Chapter 9 because of unfunded obligations related to retiree pay and benefits.

  3. lee
    lee says:

    condo owners heads up

    there is a new adjustment that seems to be way out of wack when considering
    the floor you are on.

    I just got off the phone with them
    and the new math seems to penalize
    the higher floor owner
    ie: My third floor unit is valued
    31% lower this go round
    my 7th floor unit only 15% lower
    net net with millage rates going up my 7th floor unit taxes are about the same

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