Instead of 9% increase state economists had predicted for county, Property Appraiser’s Office puts June 1 estimate at 16.71%
During a March budget workshop, Sarasota County financial management staff pointed out to the county commissioners that state economists expected the county’s property value to rise by 9% this year. As it turns out, the state experts were well off the mark.
Just before Memorial Day weekend — to comply with the June 1 state deadline — the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office released the preliminary estimates for 2022 for the county, the Sarasota County School Board and all of the municipalities. Instead of 9%, the documents show the county’s increase from the 2021 certified county property value was 16.71%.
County commissioners alluded to that news when they conducted their regular meeting on June 7. For example, during a discussion of county funding for health services, Chair Alan Maio remarked on the fact that the revenue from the 0.1661 mills that the board has dedicated out of its General Fund to those services “[is] going to rise dramatically this year.”
The highest jump in property value in the Property Appraiser’s Office reports was for the City of North Port, whose preliminary property value for 2022 is up 24.52%, compared to the 2021 certified total.
The Sarasota County School Board’s preliminary value for 2022 rose 24.45% from the 2021 certified figure.
For the City of Venice, the increase from the 2021 certified value is 18.45%, and for the City of Sarasota, it is 17.41%.
Even the Town of Longboat Key — which has had single-digit increases in recent years — saw a double-digit jump for 2022: 13.31%.
The total value of Sarasota County property as of the June 1 estimate is $81,804,854,578, the Property Appraiser’s Office document shows. For the School Board, it is $92,781,334,022.
The City of Sarasota is in third place: $14,624,946,175.
The June 1 value for the City of North Port is $7,188,446,219; for Venice, it is $5,736,932,560; and for the Town of Longboat Key, it is $5,044,049,443.
The Property Appraiser’s Office will release revised figures by July 1, as required by state law. Those numbers will be used by local governments in setting their not-to-exceed millage rates for the 2023 fiscal year, which will begin on Oct. 1. The millage rates are provided in the Truth in Millage notices that are mailed to each property owner in August.
A separate document that the Property Appraiser’s Office released in late May shows the market value of new construction for each local government body and the net taxable value of that new construction. The School Board came out on top in that list with a figure of $2,504,636,555.
The county’s net taxable value of new construction was $2,424,786,891, while the figure for the City of Sarasota was $578,713,573. For North Port, it was $450,564,659.
A county news release issued this week pointed out, “As property values increase again, it’s important to remember that despite potentially higher values for the county in fiscal year 2023, homestead property values are capped at 3 percent growth,” while non-homestead property values are capped at 10%.
That release also noted that the county’s current millage rate of 3.46 mills is the second lowest in the state. One mill represents $1 per $1,000 in taxable value. Thus, the release explains, if a property is valued at $100,000, a 1-mill tax for that property would be $100.
During budget workshops in recent years, Commissioner Alan Maio has stressed the fact that he and his colleagues have worked to keep the millage rate level over the past decade, even though property tax collections fell nearly 40% during the Great Recession. The news release adds that the commissioners lowered the rate eight times “[d]uring the housing boom of the early 2000’s.”
The news release emphasizes, as well, that the commission has not pursued a millage increase in 23 years. Likewise, no increase is planned for the 2023 fiscal year, as County Administrator Jonathan Lewis has pointed out.
Property tax revenue is deposited into the county’s General Fund, which pays for the operations of county departments such as Libraries and Historical Resources; Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources; and Health and Human Services.
The County Commission will conduct its annual budget workshops with department leaders and the constitutional officers — including Sheriff Kurt Hoffman and Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner — on June 23 and June 24.
A slide presented to the commissioners during their May 25 budget workshop showed that approximately 60% of the General Fund budget has been allocated to the constitutional officers.
The City of Sarasota’s budget workshops are scheduled for July 25 and 26 starting at 9 a.m. in the Commission Chambers, Jan Thornburg, the city’s senior communications manager, told The Sarasota News Leader. “Following the budget workshop on July 26, the Commission will hold a special meeting to set the tentative millage rate,” Thornburg added in a June 6 email.
City administrative and Finance Department staff “are meeting with each department head to discuss the budget and needs,” Thornburg continued in that email. “The City is experiencing significant cost increases with fuel and products, so that will be factored into the proposed budget.”
Additionally, Thornburg noted, the city’s level of service will be considered, as positions have been frozen or eliminated in the past two years.
Special districts realize increases, as well
One other document released by the Property Appraiser’s Office shows the preliminary 2022 estimates of property value in special taxing districts.
Among those, the Downtown Improvement District in the City of Sarasota has a value of $418,368,812, which is up approximately 11.1%, compared to the preliminary value released for June 1, 2021.
The preliminary value of the Siesta Key Village Public Improvement District, whose property owners are assessed annually for the upkeep of the Village, rose to $85,476,395, an uptick of close to 15.7%, compared to the June 1, 2021 figure.
The City of Sarasota’s St. Armands Special Business Neighborhood Improvement District preliminary value is $183,333,540. That marks an increase of slightly more than 10%, compared to the June 1, 2021 total.
The North Casey Key Public Improvement District value climbed to 1,002,336,597. The June 1, 2021 report from the Property Appraiser’s Office put that value at $862,857,183. Thus, the new figure is approximately 16% higher.
Although Sarasota County has not assessed the owners of property in that North Casey Key district for decades, recent discussions about the county’s plans for a seawall in that district, to try to control erosion, have raised the potential of new assessments.