Cape’s estimated property valuations increase
Cape Coral property owners have much to be happy about as their estimated property values appear to have once again risen sharply over the past year.
The city’s estimated property tax valuation rose an estimated 7.87 percent from last year, down only slightly from the 8.37 percent it rose the previous year and slightly better than the 7.75 from 2015, marking the fifth straight year of value increases.
Of course, that’s assuming the estimate is accurate, which won’t be official until July 1 when the preliminary value is set.
The total taxable value in Cape Coral is estimated at $12.991 billion up from the $12.043 billion final figure.
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.
These numbers are great news for the city, though it’s still way too early to determine the impact it will have on the budget.
Councilmember Rana Erbrick said the increase should be enough to make the city consider a rollback rate, which she has campaigned for in the past.
“We should take a serious look at it. I think it’s great we’re a value and a climbing value and it looks like we’re back on our feet,” Erbrick said. “We’ve been so steadily rising in the last few years it should give us comfort in the ability to roll back.”
Erbrick also warned that just because values have gone up, that doesn’t mean they’ll stay up.
“You always have to look for indicators. We will probably see a correction in the next year or two. Hopefully, it won’t be like 2008,” Erbrick said. “That’s why we need to be conscientious about spending.”
Once again, all the taxing districts saw increases. Fort Myers estimated valuation increased 8.09 percent, Sanibel increased by 5.87 percent, Fort Myers Beach was up 4.84 percent, Bonita Springs increased 5.93 percent, and Estero went up 4.64 percent.
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.