June 1 preliminary data show increases once again in property tax values for local governments

Sarasota County figure higher by 6.33%, compared to 2020 figure, with North Port realizing biggest jump

Editor’s note: This article was corrected on the morning of June 4 to point out that the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office sends out the annual TRIM notices, not the Tax Collector’s Office.

Among new construction in 2020, Sarasota County completed Fire Station No. 8, which stands at 840 Apex Road, in the eastern part of the county. Image courtesy Sarasota County

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the June 1 preliminary property tax value for Sarasota County showed a 6.33% uptick, which was not quite 2% higher than the 4.67% Sarasota County Property Appraiser William Furst’s staff released in late May 2020.

In late March, county staff told the County Commission that the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research was projecting a 3.8% growth in property value for the 2022 fiscal year.

In response to a Sarasota News Leader question, the county’s Office of Financial Management reported in a June 1 email, “The total increase in ad valorem revenues for the County’s General Fund is estimated to be $11.2 million, based on the June 1st estimated property values.”

The General Fund is the “pot” into which property tax dollars are put. That fund pays for the operations of numerous county departments and those of constitutional officers such as the sheriff and the supervisor of elections. It also is a source to which county commissioners look for money when needs arise that cannot be met from other county “pots” after the budget has been adopted for each fiscal year.

Brian Loughrey, chief deputy Sarasota County property appraiser, provided the News Leader the June 1 preliminary figures for each municipality and the Sarasota County School Board, at the publication’s request.

For the City of Sarasota, the increase for 2021 is 4.62%, compared to the certified tax value in 2020.

In response to a News Leader inquiry, city Communications Specialist Jason Bartolone wrote in a June 1 email that the city’s Financial Administration Department staff focused on the fact that the June 1 estimated taxable value is a 5.14% increase from the prior year’s preliminary estimate. “At the current city millage rate of 3.2632 mills,” Bartolone continued, “this generates $2,147,994 for a total of $38,967,672 [in city property tax revenue]. However, staff is recommending the use of the rollback rate,” he continued, which would keep the ad valorem revenue at the same amount as the previous year, “with a slight increase for new construction. The rollback rate millage will be determined with the receipt of the July 1st official estimated taxable values.”

This chart provides comparisons of the 2021 and 2020 property tax values. Image courtesy Property Appraiser William Furst

Bartolone also pointed out that the City Commission thus far has not approved the use of the rollback rate.

The biggest jump year-over-year in the June 1 estimated property values — as in recent past reports — is for the City of North Port. The new data noted that the preliminary June 1 value climbed 11.53%, compared to the 2020 certified taxable value.

The June 1, 2020 estimate for North Port showed a hike of 10.25%.

The Sarasota County School Board’s June 1 figure is up 6.45% from the 2020 certified total, the report said. That is the second-highest uptick after the number for the City of North Port.

For the City of Venice, the June 1 figure is up 6.18%.

Finally, unlike last year, the Town of Longboat Key also experienced an increase. That was put at 5.45%.

The preliminary data released for June 1, 2020 showed Longboat with a drop of 3.63%, compared to the June 1, 2019 number.

Overall, the county’s property as of June 1 has a value of $69,602,317,945, the Property Appraiser’s Office data said.

A graphic that county staff showed the commissioners during their May 21 budget workshop noted that the county’s taxable property value had risen 41% from 2005 to 2020.

For the School Board, the June 1 preliminary figure is $73,846,489,739.

The City of Sarasota’s value is $12,374,665,132, and North Port’s is $5,701,214,639.

In his May 28 email to local government leaders, which included the June 1 reports, Chief Deputy Property Appraiser Loughrey wrote, “This office recognizes the great importance of these estimates to your taxing authority, thus we strive to provide you the most accurate values currently available.

“Nevertheless,” he added, “we must caution you that the Certification of Taxable Value forms this office will submit on or before July 1st will likely reflect different values.”

Typically, the figures do change from the preliminary estimates in June to the final list in July, the News Leader has found through the years.

This chart shows details about the value of new construction. Image courtesy Property Appraiser William Furst

In July, the local government bodies have to approve their not-to-exceed millage rates for the next fiscal year, so the Property Appraiser’s Office can mail the Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices to all property owners. Those notices traditionally go out in August.

Although boards can lower those millage rates before approving their final fiscal year budgets, they cannot raise them.

Each fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Among other data in the information Loughrey provided the News Leader this week, the market value of new construction in the county was put at $1,812,827,596. That was a drop of approximately 7.2%, compared to the June 1, 2020 estimate of $1,952,005,400.

For the City of Sarasota, the June 1 estimate is $287,956,850, which is about 23% lower than the 2020 total of $375,516,800.

The City of North Port’s June 1 estimate is $349,607,400,

That is approximately 0.04% lower than the June 1, 2020 total.

Additionally, the Property Appraiser’s Office’s June 1 list of all property values by local government or special district notes that the county’s Legacy Trail debt stands at $69,621,240,237. Voters in the November 2018 General Election approved a referendum to allow the county to borrow $65 million in bonds to pay for the North Extension and the North Port Connector of The Legacy Trail. As a result, each property tax bill has a certain millage dedicated to paying off the county’s debt for the initiative.

The first segment of the North Extension — from Proctor Road to Bahia Vista Street — is expected to open on July 6. (See the related article in this issue.)

Other City of Sarasota figures

A map shows the location of the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

In related news for the City of Sarasota, Communications Specialist Bartolone pointed out to the News Leader that the value of the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) property as of June 1 is $200,417,979, which is 7.07% higher than the 2020 value.

For a number of years after it was established in 2006, the Newtown CRA struggled to show year-over-year gains in property value. In October 2017, the CRA base year was reset from Jan. 1, 2007 to Jan. 1, 2017 in an effort to ameliorate the situation.

Other special districts realized lower values this year, Bartolone noted:

  • St. Armands Business Improvement District as of June 1 — $166,286,822, which is a 3.77% drop from the 2020 total.
  • Golden Gate Point Streetscape — $284,074,857 as of June 1, a 0.32% decline.
  • Downtown Improvement District — $376,476,730 as of June 1, a 0.64% decrease from the 2020 total.