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Lee reduces property tax revenue by $93.2 million

By Staff | Oct 7, 2009

Of Florida’s 67 counties, Lee County came out on top this year when it came to lowering the overall tax burden on property owners.
Its reduction of $93.2 million in property tax revenue for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 put Lee County No. 1 in the state, according to the Florida Association of Counties, which measured how counties did when budgeting to the rollback tax rate.
The rollback rate is the tax rate needed to maintain the same amount of revenue for operation costs.
“Lee County increased the millage by .0246, yet remains 24 percent below the rollback rate with $93 million in decreased revenues, a 22 percent drop from 2008,” the FAC reported in a prepared statement.
Assistant County Manager Pete Winton presented the analysis Tuesday to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, explaining that the FAC released its statewide property tax report.
“Lee County has the largest percentage difference between what our tax rate is this year that was adopted and the rollback rate in the county,” he said.
Winton added that the county had a 23.96 percent reduction in the rollback rate.
According to the FAC, there are three major factors that contributed to the impact of property taxes in Florida, including “the decline in property values, the implementation of the rollback rates (2007) and Amendment 1 (2008).”
Florida counties have reduced revenue by more than $729 million. In a three-year time span, that reduction amounts to $1.5 billion, or 13 percent.
Work force cuts and cuts to all levels of services are a direct result of the reductions, according to FAC.
Out of Florida’s 67 counties, 45 will collect less property tax revenue and 22 will collect more. Fifty-two counties are below the rollback rate, six counties met it and nine exceeded the rollback rate, the report states.
The others that rank in the top five with a reduction below the rollback rate include Saint Lucie County with 21.78 percent, Charlotte County with 18.30 percent, Walton County with 16.56 percent and Orange County with 14.84 percent.
The taxable value for Lee County during the 2008-09 fiscal year was $85 billion compared to the 2009-10 taxable value of $65 billion. The 2009-10 levied taxes is $324 million compared to $418 million in 2008-09.
The Lee County rollback rate for 2009-10 is 6.5300 and the millage rate for 2009-10 is 4.9654.
A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of taxable assessed valuation.