published: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Budget woes not over
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING -- When Highlands County Property Appraiser Raymond McIntyre opened up his spread sheet this year he saw a shadow -- meaning another cycle of local property tax decreases. Although the valuations were not down as much as they were last year, collections still will be off by in the county an estimated 2.56 percent from the prior year.
"What people have to understand is that we operate in the previous fiscal year to get our numbers," McIntyre explained. "The 2013 taxable value came out of the 2012 calendar year, so we are one year behind."
The numbers are down across the board. The biggest dip percentage-wise comes in the municipality of Sebring, with the Orange Blossom City down 5.75 percent from the previous year's totals. McIntyre said that came as a result of the Majestic Cove project going into foreclosure.
"It will be $157,490 less in revenue for them this coming fiscal year under the current millage rate," he said.
The biggest drop in ad valorem tax revenue will be for the Highlands County School Board. Although the total valuation for the board is a bit higher this time because they are not subject to some of the exemptions the county is, those figures will be off $924,727 from the previous fiscal year under the current millage.
Highlands County will be down almost as much. Collections this fiscal year are projected at $806,290 less than last year.
Although percentage-wise, Avon Park was down almost as much, they will only lose $20,334 because so few people pay property taxes in the City of Charm.
Low on the list is Lake Placid. At a 2.16 percent decline, the town will see $12,634 less to spend this budget year than last.
Despite the fact that these are what are preliminary numbers the longtime property appraiser said the figures are "very close." However, McIntyre held out hope, saying indications for next year are showing improvement.
"From the beginning of 2013 to where we are today in June, the market has started to turn," he said. "We still could see some growth this year."
But the fact remains that the money city council, school board and county commission members will be dealing with will come from the 2012 fiscal calendar and the pending 2013-2014 budgets will be based on those numbers.
"We're cautiously optimistic," McIntyre said
The tax collector's numbers will be certified July 1. County, municipal and school board budgets must be completed and submitted to the state by Sept. 30.
Response to Blindman (by: Philip Thomas McDaniel - 6/22/2013)
I would certainly hope my ideas are not new...that there are thinking people living here. If "they" have been working on all of them for quite some time, I presume there is some evidence of positive results. It would be nice to know the status of all the work being done...if an approach is not effective, perhaps a change of approach should be tried. What industries have been approached? What incentives are being offered? How's a commuter airline being pursued? What are the terms of sale for the Harder Hall property? If there are no takers, what are prospective buyers saying?
(by: Blindman~ - 6/17/2013)
Mr. McDaniel, your ideas are not new. They have been working on all of them for quite some time.
property tax decreases (by: Philip Thomas McDaniel - 6/17/2013)
This city, Sebring, could go a long ways to improve itself if it would just consider the following:
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