It must be an election year: Property owners in Flagler County and its cities will not see much of a jump in their property taxes come January, thanks in large part to another substantial decrease in school taxes.
Taxes have increased in Flagler County and in all five cities, but the largest increase, in Flagler Beach–which had unwisely stuck to a no-tax-increase approach for several years–will equate to a $51 increase for a homeowner with a house assessed at $175,000.
And even though taxes have increased in every other city, the sum total of all taxes will still equate to decreases of about $12 for the typical homeowner in each of these cities. The amounts may be slightly higher when property appreciation is figured in. Values went up between 3 and 6 percent across the county. Homesteaded properties cannot be taxed on more than 3 percent of that appreciated value.
Every local government spent the latter part of spring and summer on budget workshops, and every government held two public hearings in September to set its final tax rate. Marineland and Flagler County were the last to do so, Thursday. The hearings notoriously draw few people, as do workshops. This year was no different. Only Flagler Beach had a busier budget season as its new manager, Larry Newsom, successfully argued for a substantial tax increase to make up for lost years, and to add some personnel and restore the positions of police chief and fire chief, which had been eliminated by his predecessor.
The school board gifted other taxing authorities the sort of tax cut that would enable them to increase taxes without substantially affecting taxpayers’ final bottom line, but the school board in fact had little to do with setting its tax rate: that’s done by the Legislature, without appeal from local boards. In this case, the school tax rate was diminished enough to net a $45 decrease in taxes for the typical homeowner with a $175,000 house.
To put the matter in more pragmatic terms, take Palm Coast Council member Steven Nobile’s tax bill. (Why Nobile? He owns a house valued the closest to the current median price of homes, with a market value of $195,000 and an assessed value of $179,000.) His taxable value is $130,000. This year he paid $2,827 in taxes, total, including those taxes most residents never hear about and don’t know much about even when they appear on their tax bills: Mosquito control ($30), the Florida Inland Navigation District, a sort of managing entity for the Intracoastal Waterway ($4), the St. Johns River Water Management District ($39), then school ($1,116), county ($1,091) and Palm Coast taxes ($547).
His taxes next year? His house appreciated in value by about $1,000, which will have a negligible impact on taxes. His final tax bill in 2017? It will be $2,830, a whopping tax increase of $3.
(His fellow council members will see proportionately similar increases, but applied to their differently valued homes: In comparison, Council member Jason DeLorenzo is homesteaded in a $126,000 P-Section house, though he’s acquired a $209,000 house in the nearby W Section, Mayor Jon Netts is in a $300,000 F-Section house, with boat dock, Heidi Shipley is in a $107,000 house in the same F Section, no boat dock, Robert Cuff, the newest council member, is in a $117,000 house in the B Section, and City Manager Jim Landon is in a $300,000 E-Section house.)
The same calculations can be applied to your own property by running the numbers posted at the Flagler County Property Appraiser’s website–keeping in mind Property Appraiser Jay Gardner’s disclaimer: he has nothing to do with setting those tax rates, though he has plenty to do with setting the property values.
Taxes for commercial properties are calculated without homestead exemptions.
A chart below lists typical residential tax bills in each jurisdiction.
Copy of Property Tax Rates and Effective Tax Bills for Residents in Flagler County, Palm Coast, Flagler Beach and Bunnell, on a $175,000 House with a $50,000 Homestead Exemption (2016-17).
|Flagler County School Board|
|County Debt and Sensitive Land Levies|
|St. Johns River Water Management District|
|Florida Inland Navigation District|
|Total: What All County Residents Pay*|
|Palm Coast Residents|
|Flagler Beach Residents|
|Beverly Beach Residents|
(*) For residents of west Flagler, the mosquito control tax does not apply. For city residents, the total rate from countywide taxes is added to the city rate for a final tax bill total.
(**) For a definition of the roll-back rate, go here.
(***) The tax bill is calculated on a median-priced house of $175,000, with the assumption that the house has a $50,000 homestead exemption. So its taxable value would be $125,000 in 2017, or $150,000 when calculating school taxes. The taxable value in this chart does not take into account the increased or decreased value of a property. Values have appreciated between 3 and 6 percent across the county, which would affect tax bills accordingly.
Source: Flagler County Property Appraiser.