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City’s tax rate could change despite budget adoption

POSTED: June 26, 2014 12:47 a.m.

It will likely take another few months before Gainesville officials know whether they need to roll back the property tax rate following a reassessment of lakefront home values this year.

“At this point, we can’t say if the (property tax) rate will stay the same or roll back,” City Manager Kip Padgett told The Times in an email. “With the appeals process currently underway, there is too much uncertainty to know how the final digest will end up.”

Earlier this month, City Council voted unanimously to keep the tax rate in place at $3.06 per $1,000 of taxable property.

But a slight increase in the tax digest resulting from reassessments means the city might have to lower the rate.

While growth in the tax digest resulting from new construction and development means more money in the coffers of local government, any growth related to an increase in home values must be offset with a decrease in the tax rate — otherwise, it’s considered a tax increase.

New development accounts for a 4.7 percent increase in the city’s portion of the county tax digest over the last year, and reassessments account for a 1.1 percent increase, or about $50.3 million.

Residents can appeal the reassessed value on their homes, and city officials said they were waiting until this process concludes and the tax digest is certified before making any changes to the property tax rate.

“In our ordinance adopting the (property tax) rate, we have the following statement for just this reason,” Padgett said.

“It reads: Now therefore be it further ordained the City of Gainesville will take appropriate action when the Tax Digest as certified by the State Revenue Commissioner is available and property reassessments are confirmed.”

Officials said it will be late summer or early fall before they know if the tax rate needs to be changed.

“... August or September we will have a much better idea of how final billing will look,” Gainesville Administrative Services Director Melody Marlowe told The Times in an email. “Necessary adjustments will be made to the millage rate prior to final tax billing in October.”

Council also approved the millage rate for the Gainesville Board of Education, which will remain fixed at $7.59 per $1,000 of taxable property.

“In regards to the school board, it will be their decision on what they do as far as their (property tax rate),” Padgett said.


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