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TRIM notices bring good and bad news for property owners

By Staff | Aug 26, 2008

Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson has said 80 percent of property owners will see a decrease in their assessed value this year when they receive their TRIM notices, which were mailed out Friday. While that means lower taxes for most, it also means home values have drastically fallen in the past year.

Cape Coral property values have dropped 25 percent over the past year, but Tommy Lee, president of the Cape Coral Association of Realtors, said he expects assessed values to continue to drop when next year’s TRIM notices are issued.

“I really think we’re going to see the true decline next year,” Lee said.

Because the home values on this year’s TRIM notices are based on the previous year’s sales prices, those values will continue to drop as long as the housing slide continues, Lee said.

That news is a double-edged sword for homeowners.

“It’s mixed emotions — yeah, your taxes are going down, but so is your (home) value,” Lee said.

Wilkinson said the majority of calls he is getting from residents are asking for explanations of the notice, not disputing their home’s value.

“I’m pleasantly surprised. We anticipated more calls than we’ve gotten. Ninety percent of the calls are related to explaining the TRIM notices,” he said.

The notices became more complicated after voters passed Amendment 1, which expanded the Save Our Homes homestead exemption, in a statewide referendum in January.

Despite the extra complication, Wilkinson said he is happy with his work.

“I’m pretty proud of it,” he said of the TRIM notices.