After dropping steadily since its 2006 high of $4.1 billion, Franklin County’s tax base will increase next year by about 1 percent, returning it to levels similar to a decade ago.
Property Appraiser Rhonda Skipper last week received approval from the Florida Department of Revenue of the certified preliminary taxable value for the county, both government and schools, and the other taxing districts.
These numbers show a slight uptick from the “Good Faith Estimates” filed in June, which were approximations based on the latest data at the time.
Because it is exempt from a 10 percent cap on the taxable value of non-homesteaded property, the school district is the county’s largest taxing district, and is forecast to go from $1.711 billion last year to $1.744 billion, an increase of $33 million, or nearly 2 percent.
The county government tax base is estimated will grow from $1.632 billion to $1.650 billion, a jump of $18 million, or about 1.1 percent. This preliminary value includes the value of about $8.84 million in new construction throughout the county.
The county tax base is slightly smaller than that of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, which will see a rise from $1.634 billion to $1.656 billion, growth of about $22 million, or about 1.3 percent. This is because the county, like the cities of Apalachicola and Carrabelle, offers an exemption for qualifying seniors of $50,000 off the taxable value of their homesteaded property. This is an income-based qualification, which this year meant a couple’s combined income has to be less than $28,000.
In addition, the county offers a veterans exemption, which varies by percentage of disability, to vets and their widows or widowers.
The city of Apalachicola’s taxable property value is expected to rise from $118.1 million to $123.7 million, or by about $5.6 million, or roughly 4.7 percent. But, after rising last year, the city of Carrabelle will see a decline in its tax base, with an estimated drop from $103.2 million to $100.5 million, a decrease of $2.7 million, or by about 2.6 percent.
“Carrabelle busted wide open all during the height of the market,” said Skipper. “It’s going to take longer to clear out all the foreclosures on the down side.”
Also declining was the Alligator Point Water and Sewer District, which will experience a drop in its combined property valuation, from $119.2 million to $113.8 million, a falloff of about $5.4 million, or roughly 4.5 percent.
The Eastpoint Water and Sewer District is expected to see a loss in its tax base of about $400,000, from $65.5 million to $65.1 million, or by about six-tenths of 1 percent.
The Dog Island Conservation District is also forecast to shrink by a small amount, about $100,000, from $29.4 million to $29.3 million, or by about three-tenths of 1 percent.
While St. George Island is not a taxing district, Skipper compiled numbers that showed that the island next year will have a combined property value of about $614 million, approximately 38 percent of the county’s overall tax base.
“In my opinion we’re on the bottom and we’re starting to rebound,” said Skipper. “I think over the next two years we’ll see the same rebound in Carrabelle, Alligator Point and Eastpoint.”