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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jun. 13, 201712:00 PM EST

Duval property values rise 6 percent to $58.6 billion

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The county appraiser collected $4.4 million in back taxes, and more are owed.
by: Caren Burmeister Contributing Writer

Jacksonville could collect taxes on an extra $3.3 billion in property tax value this year because of the escalating real estate market.

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland said Friday total taxable property value rose to $58.6 billion, a 6 percent increase over last year’s value of $55.3 billion.

That's according to the estimates that are required to be provided to all taxing authorities before June 1 by the property appraiser.

Holland spoke Friday to the Northeast Florida Builders Association Sales and Marketing Council.

Holland released the numbers Wednesday to the City Council Finance Committee while presenting his office’s 2016 Annual Report.

Yet to be decided is whether Mayor Lenny Curry and the council will adopt the same property tax rate as last year, or go with a rollback rate.

If the city approves the same rate, homeowners would see a tax increase and the city would collect the extra revenue, he said.

If the city adopts the rollback rate, it would help homeowners break even and generate the same tax revenue as last year.

Holland attributed the rising tax values to Jacksonville’s rapidly expanding real estate market and new construction.

For 2017, Duval County’s total market value rose to $96.5 billion, up from $92 billion the year before, he said.

The market value of new construction rose to about $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion in the 2016 certified tax roll.

While a 6 percent increase is substantial, Holland said it’s much less compared to pre-recession tax values, which climbed 16 percent in 2007.

“We still haven’t returned to the tax values of 2007 and 2008,” Holland said. “We’ve been experiencing a three-year rise in values with a slight uptick every year.”

Property taxes make up about 62 percent of the city’s revenue, he said.

The mayor will use the data to develop his budget and suggest a property tax rate, which he will propose in July.

Budget hearings will take place over the summer and the city will mail its proposed property tax notices to homeowners in early August.

Council will approve the budget in the fall for the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year and the tax bills will go out in November.

Holland also predicted that voters will pass an amendment on the November 2018 ballot offering an additional $25,000 homestead exemption for non-school taxes.

If approved, it would bring the total homestead exemption to $75,000. Holland previously told city officials that the measure would reduce property tax revenue by $25.8 million.

While it would give residents a break on their property taxes, it could pressure city officials to find other tax sources to cover basic services, he said.

Since he took office in 2015, Holland’s office has collected about $4.39 million in back taxes from homeowners who falsely claimed the homestead exemption.

That amounts to a little more than half the $7 million that his office has billed.

Most of it comes from mistakes, he told the builders group, including issues raised by renting a homesteaded property.

Under state law, homeowners can lose their homestead exemption if they rent their home for more than 30 days per year for two consecutive years.

Noting that some homeowners rented their property for $4,800 a week during The Players Championship, Holland warned that his employees routinely check rental company websites, including Airbnb.

“We’re gonna find them,” he said. “At the end of the day, they’re going to get caught.”

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