While many of us were busy with Hurricane Irma, the taxing districts were setting their tax rates and budgets for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which began October 1, 2017.
Property owners received a Truth in Millage (TRIM) statement from the Tax Assessor’s office in August detailing last year’s taxes, the roll back rate (the tax rate necessary for the taxing district to take in the same amount of money as the current fiscal year) and their proposed maximum tax rate (TRIM rate). TRIM notices also include the property value, exemptions and estimates of what the property owner would pay in taxes if the TRIM rates were approved by the taxing district compared to what they would pay if the roll back rate was adopted. Districts can lower their tax rates during the budget hearings, but cannot raise the rate higher than the TRIM rate they submitted.
Each taxing district, whether it’s the school system, county, library or town, is required to hold two public budget hearings in order to present the proposed budget to the community and allow community comments. This year, many of those hearings were disrupted by Hurricane Irma and the State of Florida gave districts until October 4th to complete the hearings. Each district was then required to submit their budget and tax rate to the county tax assessor.
The mill or millage rate represents the amount of tax per $1,000 of taxable value, which is used to calculate the amount of property tax. A 1.5 mill rate would mean $1.50 tax per $1,000 taxable value, or $150 per $100,000 taxable value.
Final Fort Myers Beach area taxing districts rates:
Fort Myers Beach Fire District: 2.5800 mills
Town of Fort Myers Beach: 0.8700 mills
Fort Myers Beach Library: 0.3498 mills
Fort Myers Beach Mosquito Control: 0.1005
While some local district rates were the same as last year, all were above the roll back rate, which means that a homeowner will likely pay more real estate or ad valorem taxes for 2017-2018 than they did 2016-2017. The taxable value of property increased in both the Town of Fort Myers Beach and the Fire District and Beach Library taxing districts. The taxable value of property within the Town grew by 6.5%, with similar rates for the Fire and Library districts.
Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson, CFA has compiled an interesting comparison chart looking at average taxes in county municipalities in a TRIM Information packet available on the Property Appraiser website www.leepa.org. According to his figures and based on location and taxable value the total tax rates look like this:
City of Fort Myers 20.7294 mills
City of Cape Coral 18.9668
Unincorporated Lee County 16.3885
Town of Fort Myers Beach 15.2228
City of Sanibel 15.1974
City of Bonita Springs 15.1467
Village of Estero 14.9292
According to this information, Town residents pay $100 less in taxes per $100,000 taxable value than unincorporated Lee County residents.
Property tax bills will be mailed by November 1, 2017. All tax payments are due by April 1, 2018. Taxpayers can save up to 4% by paying their taxes early. Details will be on your individual tax bill. For more information visit leetc.com or call 239-533-6000.