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Cape Coral property valuations take another dive

By Staff | Jun 3, 2010

Decreased property valuations mean the city of Cape Coral may be looking at approximately $13.1 million less in property tax revenues next year, city officials said this week.
According to preliminary numbers by the Lee County Property Appraiser’s Office, Cape Coral’s taxable value base decreased 16.28 percent over the last year. Cape Coral’s total taxable value for the next fical year is estimated at $8,786,412,000, $1,708,464,370 less than last year’s final taxable value of $10,494,876,370.
“While we were expecting a decrease, we were hoping for less of one,” said City Manager Carl Schwing, in a prepared statement released Tuesday. “We have been working on our budget plan, and we are still committed to presenting a balanced budget proposal to City Council for FY2011.”
Schwing said he plans to provide the Cape Coral City Council with options to offset the estimated budget impacts while meeting the city’s financial and service obligations.
Cape Coral’s current property tax rate is 7.9702 mills for general operations.
One mil is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of taxible valuation.
Lee County property values dropped 15.3 percent, according to the preliminary estimates released Tuesday by property appraiser Ken Wilkinson.
Although the 2011 numbers are less dramatic than 2010 when values decreased more than 25 percent, Wilkinson said that between 2007 and now Lee County lost 55 percent of its overall values.
“It was a $125 billion plus in 2007 … three years later there’s a 55 percent overall loss of value,” Wilkinson said.
Cape Coral’s property values fell 16.28 percent, while Fort Myers saw a 17.78 percent reduction.
Bonita Springs property values fell 15.47 percent, Fort Myers Beach fell 12.68 percent, and Sanibel saw a 7.43 reduction is total taxable value.
Wilkinson said he was somewhat surprised that Fort Myers’ overall valuation fell further than Cape Coral.
He said it was probably due to commercial real estate.
“The commercial took a big hit, but commercial is a higher percentage of their total tax roll,” Wilkinson said.
Property valuations are due to Tallahassee by July 1. Those numbers, which may be slightly higher or lower than the preliminary estimates, then are used by local governments to estimate property tax revenues and set tax rates.
Wilkinson said individual notices are due to homeowners in August, and homeowners will then have 25 days to appeal their values to Wilkinson’s office.
Wilkinson added that while residential property sales have increased, commercial property remains largely stagnant.
He said the overall loss of value county wide was unprecedented.
“I’ve been here 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Wilkinson said.