Early estimates of Franklin County’s tax base indicate that overall property values will increase by a whisker over last year, reversing an eight-year decline.
On June 1, Property Appraiser Rhonda Skipper filed with the state what are called “Good Faith Estimates,” an approximation based on the latest data that could vary from the preliminary values due July 1.
If the numbers hold steady, then the county will see the first uptick in its tax base since 2006, when it was more than double the size.
Skipper estimates that there will be a roughly three-tenths of 1 percent increase, or about $5.5 million, in each of the three countywide taxing authorities.
The largest because of fewer exemptions, the school district, is forecast to go from $1.711 billion to $1.716 billion, while the county government is estimated will grow from $1.630 billion to $1.635 billion. The Northwest Florida Water Management District will see a rise from $1.634 billion to $1.640 billion.
Both cities will see an expansion of their tax bases, with Apalachicola expected to rise from $118.1 million to $119.1 million, or by about $1 million, or roughly eight-tenths of 1 percent. For the second consecutive year, the city of Carrabelle will see growth in its tax base, with an estimated enlargement from $103.2 million to $103.7 million, an increase of $500,000, or about one-half of 1 percent.
The three remaining taxing districts – Alligator Point, Eastpoint and Dog Island – each are expected to see a continued shrinkage of their tax base.
The Alligator Point Water and Sewer District will experience the steepest drop in its combined property valuation, from $119.2 million to $114.2 million, a decline of about $4.9 million, or about 4.1 percent.
The Eastpoint Water and Sewer District is expected to see a 1.1 percent drop in its tax base, a loss of $734,000, from $65.5 million to $64.8 million. The Dog Island Conservation District is expected to shrink by a smaller amount, from $29.4 million to $29.3 million, a two-tenths of 1 percent decline of about $71,000.
If the estimates prove accurate, the uptick will mark a sharp improvement of what had been often double-digit declines. The tax base is now roughly what it was 11 years ago, before the collapse of the real estate market.