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Fort Myers Beach estimated property values increase

May 31, 2017
Jessica Salmond, Chuck Ballaro (jsalmond@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

It doesn't come to much of a surprise that property values are on the rise in Fort Myers Beach.

The Beach's estimated property tax valuation is projected to be 4.84 percent more than the final 2016 values; the 2017 estimate shows $3.272 billion in taxable value.

However, the total new taxable construction numbers are down from the 2016 final value. The 2016 value totalled 34,170,059; the 2017 estimate is 17,054,954.

That's if the estimates are correct; the official numbers will be released July 1, when the preliminary value is et.

Overall, Lee County's estimated overall taxable value went up 6.56 percent from last year's $67.887 billion to $72.343 billion.

"This is the start of the season where we are required to notify all the taxing authorities what they can look forward to in property values," said Kenneth Wilkinson, Lee County Property Appraiser. "It tells them what they can set for the millage."

Wilkinson's office has analyzed the market activity for all of 2016 and the numbers are based on what they were as of Jan. 1, 2017.

Once the preliminary numbers are set, Wilkinson will also give taxing authorities a rollback millage rate, what cities can lower the millage to so it can get the same money.

"It tells taxpayers who is raising taxes and by how much," Wilkinson said.

That number most likely won't have much of an impact on the Town of Fort Myers Beach's millage rate: three of the five town council members have stated in the past that they do not want to raise taxes via increasing the millage, which has been frozen at 0.8 for the past several years. An increase in property values will still bring in additional tax dollars through the ad valorem tax, regardless of if the rate is raised.

"It brings in more money to the town, so if we stay flat, keep it at 0.8, we'd still get more money," said Mayor Dennis Boback, who has been a vocal advocate for keeping the millage rate steady.

Fort Myers Beach was second to last in terms of the percentage increased this year; all the municipalities in Lee County saw increases. Fort Myers estimated valuation increased 8.09 percent, Cape Coral increased by 7.87 percent; Sanibel increased by 5.87 percent; Bonita Springs increased 5.93 percent, and Estero went up 4.64 percent.

Boback said he's happy with Fort Myers Beach's modest increase, as it suggests a stability for property owners and keeps the market from pricing people out.

"I'd rather see moderate increases rather than huge jumps," he said. "When you start getting into 7, 8 , 9 , 10 percent increases... those aren't sustainable. Four to 5 percent increases everyone's values but not at such a rate that it will fall again."

Wilkinson said all the numbers will likely change between now and July 1, which in recent years have trended upward. Those figures will be sent to Tallahassee for state approval. Wilkinson said he has never had an assessment declined by the state.

TRIM notices are mailed to property owners in August. Property owners will then have 25 days to resolve any disagreement in value with the property appraiser.

 
 

 

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