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Flagler’s Taxes 15th Lowest Even as Taxable Values See 2nd Worst Drop in Florida

| September 22, 2011

One of the reasons Flagler's tax rate is a little higher than it could be. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County Commission this evening will take the final vote on the 2011-12 budget after a public hearing. The commission will again hear a summary of the budget and an outline of next year’s tax rate.

Even though the tax rate is the highest in 12 years, Flagler County remains the 15th-lowest taxed county among Florida’s 67 counties, according to new figures released by the Florida Association of Counties. Flagler County is managing the feat even though, from 2010 to 2011, it experienced the second-steepest drop in taxable property values–a 14.28 percent drop, just barely behind Brevard’s 14.31 percent.

Flagler’s and Brevard’s drops were significantly higher than the Florida average drop of of 4.6 percent, and place the two counties among national leaders in lost value. For Flagler, it’s the exact reversal of the previous decade, when the county was a national leader in growth rates and among the state leaders in property value increases.

Flagler’s tax rate for 2011-12 will be $6.7814 per $1,000 in taxable value, up from $6.055. That means a $150,000 house with a $50,000 exemption will pay $678 in county taxes. The rate includes levies for environmentally sensitive lands and for the financing of bonds that paid for the county administration building and its sister palace across the parking lot, the new county courthouse. Those extra levies don’t figure in the association of counties’ tabulations of strictly county tax rates.

It’s going by those calculations that Flagler ranks 15th lowest, though many counties have similar additional levies on their books. Last year, Flagler was the 13th-lowest taxed county.

The fact is rarely part of the discussion when county commissioners are under fire over tax rates, as they have been over the past two years, particularly from tea party representatives. This year’s budget battles, however, have been relatively muted, aside from the commission’s first of nine budget hearings back in June, when some tea party members promised commissioners they’d be voted out if they raised taxes. According to state law, while the county did raise the tax rate, it did not actually raise taxes, because the revenue generated by the new rate will be lower than the revenue generated in 2011, resulting in an overall drop in taxes collected county-wide. The majority of county residents will actually see a substantial tax cut in their bills because the school board’s tax rate will stay level despite the double-digit drop in valuations, resulting in a smaller school bite. The school board accounts for the largest chunk of taxes on all residents and businesses’ bills.

The lowest-taxed county in the state is Okaloosa, at $3.37 per $1,000, followed by Walton and Sarasota, who are also under $4. Seventeen counties have tax rates of between $8 and $9 per $1,000. Five counties have tax rates between $9 and $10. And eight counties have tax rates higher than $10 per $1,000, including the two highest-taxed among them: Glades ($11.09) and Dixie ($13).

The average county tax rate in the state in 2012 will be $7.52 per $1,000–again, considerably higher than Flagler’s. Surprisingly, it’s not a substantial increase over 2011, when it was $7.40, an increase of just 11.7 cents per $1,000 in valuation, an increase of just 1.58 percent overall, which means that most counties have chosen not to make up the loss in revenue caused by the drop in valuations, and take the route of budget cuts instead. Local governments have been shedding jobs in Florida, contributing to the state’s persistently high unemployment rate.

Ten counties in the state saw virtually little to no loss in valuations, including four that actually saw property values, although Madison’s and Suwanee’s increases were statistically insignificant. In Miami-Dade, values rose 2.14 percent, and in Sumter, the state leader, values rose 6.91 percent.

The full, county-by-county breakdown of property taxes over the past two years and property value losses (or gains) is below.

Florida Tax Rates, 2011 and 2012, and Taxable Values

CountyFY 2011 Millage RateFY 2012 Millage RateTaxable value, 2011-2012, +/-%
Indian River5.09615.0663-6.37
Santa Rosa6.09476.0953-2.3
Palm Beach6.60916.707-1.79
St. Johns6.67377.4096-4.98
St. Lucie8.1688.5943-3.79
Source: Florida Association of Counties

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7 Responses for “Flagler’s Taxes 15th Lowest Even as Taxable Values See 2nd Worst Drop in Florida”

  1. The Geode says:

    ….on the bright side, we have a couple of pretty fancy buildings. …even though it’s WAY more room than we’ll ever need.

  2. Bob Z. says:

    We moved here from Maryland in 2005 and are satisfied with the tax rates here, and no state income tax helps offset the lower salaries so all in all we are happy to be here.

  3. palmcoaster says:

    One good requirement that City of Palm Coast and also County and TDC should adopt to help stop outsourcing on a county desperate for jobs. ” Gave initial approval to a new policy for city employees that would require city workers earning $100,000 or more to live within city limits within 18 months of being hired. For positions with salaries under $100,000, the policy would give preference in hiring to people who do live in Daytona Beach or promised to live in Daytona Beach within 18 months of being hired. Those who failed to move into the city, or to maintain Daytona Beach residency, would be fired. Commissioners will take a final vote on the measure at their Oct. 5 meeting”.
    Sooner or later new comers satisfaction regarding moving to our income tax free Florida will be caught up by the ad valorem tax and the unemployment figures always increasing and that we all pay for, unless they try to do something about it. The older folks that we moved equally happy here in 1991-1992 are feeling that pinch right now.

  4. dealingwithidiots1 says:

    just wait till poperty values go up!

  5. palmcoaster says:

    @Dealingwtidiots. I totally agree. Wait till the house prices will recover and then will find out this 12 percent increase now, how much will cost to all. No one envisions the implications of this increase now.

  6. Robert says:

    Shouldn’t the size of government be decreased in proportion to the drop in revenue?

    Instead the town council leads the citizens to believe that the roll back rate is the only alternative.

    Will these so called leaders decrease taxes when property values go up?

    You can bet your last dollar they won’t, they will only look for additional ways to spend the tax payers money.

  7. Bob E. says:

    Everyone is forgetting the save our homes law which limits the value of your house going up in value by more than 3% a year. The key to the taxes is not the assessments but the millage rate which will have to come back down, wanta bet? The commissioners get that rate up, keeping it below the break-even cap rate (whatever its official name is) the rate below which any increase in millage is not considered a tax increase. The City of PC did the same thing so they think we are too dumb to know they really did raise our taxes.

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