With property values soaring and many new developments in the queue, it is difficult to see what would justify an increase in the property tax rate in Jacksonville.
Insiders on the City Council say there are discussions about increasing property taxes. That would be a slap in the face to local taxpayers who will start paying twice as much in local gasoline taxes on Jan. 1 and already are paying higher sales taxes for schools.
Property Appraiser Jerry Holland’s office has just compiled the temporary tax roll for the city, and the values are up more than 5 percent.
Without raising the tax rates, that would produce an additional $45.7 million for the city treasury in the next fiscal year.
Mayor Lenny Curry’s budget is due next month. He has not signaled whether he will ask for a tax increase but the council could vote to increase the rate if a majority decided to do so.
Even without an increase, the city will reap more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in property taxes next year.
Tax bills are based on the assessed value of property multiplied by the ad valorem tax rate.
Rather than increasing the rate, the city government could accept the rollback rate, which would mean no increase in property tax bills for existing property owners. The city, however, still will see higher revenues because of growth, which is exempted from the rollback calculation.
Growth also will produce even more revenue in the future. The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to plan major redevelopment around the football stadium. On the Southside, the River’s Edge, a long-planned residential-commercial development, is under way and plans for the area of the former Jacksonville Landing have been produced.
Also, the formerly depressed Brooklyn area is booming and another set of plans, for redevelopment of the long-dormant former Florida Times-Union site, is on the table.
In short, politicians are rolling in dough. Our dough.
As is always the case, however, their spending vision is unlimited. Rarely a week goes by that they do not discover a new “need” for your money – such as the exciting “Mugger’s Walk” stroll through the city’s highest crime area, a “steal” at only $132 million.
Work harder. You have a lot of politicians and bureaucrats to support.