Property values are a driver of local government budgets. Generally, as values increase, local property tax revenue rises, assuming governments don’t proportionately reduce their tax rates.
Higher values ease pressure on government revenue but a potential increase in the homestead exemption would reduce revenue by millions, absent tax hikes.
Palm Coast’s and Bunnell’s values improved least among local governments, at 3.9 and 2.2 percent, while county, school and Flagler Beach values all exceeded 5 percent.
It was a costly, day-long project involving personnel from four city departments, including police, on a house already facing a $50,000 lien, but officials defended forcibly cleaning up the property on Deen Road at taxpayers’ expense, saying it was a matter of maintaining property values. The case shows the extent–and limits–of code enforcement’s growing authority.
The much larger-than-expected deficit, which forced the abrupt cancellation of a budget workshop, raises questions of accountability just months before four of the county commissioners face elections either to hold on to their seats or seek a higher office.
Flagler County Property Appraiser’s preliminary estimate sees a property value drop in “the low single-digits” at most, with taxable values rising in Grand Haven and Flagler Beach, among other spots, as the five-year collapse in values appears to draw to an end.
The county commission adopts the 2012 budget for good Thursday evening, essentially cutting taxes modestly even as the tax rate will rise to a 12-year high, despite home values continuing to fall at nation-leading rates.
The declines, for the fourth year in a row, will define to what extent local governments must either raise taxes or cut services as they prepare next year’s budgets. Governments have little room to cut anymore, short of vitals services.
The drop is the steepest of the last three years. Some $5 billion in taxable values have been wiped out since 2007.