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Tax base growth largest since 2004

Franklin County’s tax base has fattened up considerably over the past year, growing in the neighborhood of 8 percent, based on the property appraiser’s initial “good faith” estimates.

According to numbers provided the county commission at its June 1 meeting. Property Appraiser Rhonda Skipper estimated the combined taxable value for use in the 2021-22 budget cycle is $2.31 billion, an increase of about $163 million, or about 7.6 percent in value, over the previous year, when the final total was just short of $2.15 billion.

The school district, which is not limited by the 10 percent ceiling for annual increases on non-homesteaded properties, is expected to see a tax base of more than $2.51 billion, about $203 million more than last year’s $2.31 billion, or roughly 8.8 percent.

The other countywide taxing authority, the Northwest Florida Water Management District, which allows only the first $25,000 for the senior exemption, is estimated to have a tax base of $2.3 billion, about $148 million more than last year’s $2.15 billion, or a growth of about 6.8 percent.

One of the largest increases in the tax base is on track for Eastpoint, encompassing taxable properties in the Eastpoint Water and Sewer District. The tax base there is estimated to grow by more than 10.5 percent, an increase of about $7.8 million, from $74.4 million to $82.2 million.

Both of the county’s cities saw their tax bases growing roughly the same as the county as a whole.

In Apalachicola, the combined property values will grow by $12.7 million, or about 7.4 percent, from $170.9 million last year to $183.6 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

In Carrabelle, the tax base’s growth was slightly smaller, by a tad less than 7 percent, or about $8.58 million. It is estimated to rise from $122.9 million to $131.4 million.

The residents within the Alligator Point Water Resources District will see a growth in their tax base of about $11.1 million, from $154.9 million to just shy of $165 million, or roughly 7.2 percent.

The smallest growth in a tax base is estimated to be in the Dog Island Conservation District. The good faith estimate projects it will expand by just short of $208,000, from $25.8 million to $26 million, or just eight-tenths of 1 percent.

“They lost a lot of stuff during the year,” said Casey Nash, chief deputy in the property appraiser office.

Skipper said the percentages of increase, fueled by sales data and new construction, is the fastest rate of appreciation as seen in the county since the crash of the housing market almost 15 years ago.

“The decline in values during the housing crash was so severe that the taxable value of property today is now just above the taxable value in 2004, which was $2.107 billion” she said. “It is still 43 percent less than the taxable value at the high in 2006, when it was $4.112 billion.”

The revenue estimates for state shared revenues and sales tax proceeds will not be released by the Florida Office of Economic Development and Research until late July.

Nash said that since the office is in an in-depth audit this year, these good faith estimates are probably close to the preliminary taxable values to be released next month. But, she added, the tax base may eventually come in at higher than these early estimates.

“We’re still working personal property,” she said.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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