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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Lake City Proposed Tax Increase Negligible     $6.93 projected on a $100,000 home appraisal

LAKE CITY, FL – Last night, the City Council was required by Florida's Truth in Millage Law (TRIM) to set the maximum City tax rate for the Fiscal Year 2016 budget year. That's next year's budget year which begins on October 1, 2015, and ends September 31, 2016.  In order to keep City revenue the same (rolled back rate), the City approved a preliminary rate of $4.0444 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from last years $3.9751, representing an increase of 6.93 cents per $1,000. In plain English, a house valued by the Property Appraiser for $100,000 would pay an additional $6.93 on next year's City tax bill.

Definitions, Facts, and Figures:

What is the Millage Rate?

A millage rate or mill levy of $1.00 per $1,000 of taxable property value.

How are taxes computed?

Property Appraiser's assessed value minus exemptions (homestead, veterans, etc.), divided by 1,000, times the millage rate.

Example:

Property Appraiser's value: $ 150,000
Exemptions:                       -  50,000
Taxable Value:                     100,000
divided by 1,000                            = 100
x (times) millage rate                          $4.0444
Property Taxes                      $ 404.44

What is Truth In Millage (TRIM)? What does it require?

• Truth in Millage is one of the Florida laws that prescribes how municipalities determine the tax rate.

• TRIM clock starts on July 1 or the date of certification of the tax rolls;
  Total timeline to budget adoption is 80 days;
  Two public hearings are required during the 80 days.

The Rolled-Back Rate:

The "Rolled-Back Rate" is the millage rate that would raise the same amount of revenue as last year if applied to the current tax roll.

Appraised Values and Millage Rate

2012 City property appraised at $745,660,291 – millage rate: 3.9816
2013 City property appraised at $716,369,881 – millage rate: 3.9816
2014 City property appraised at $720,913,657 – millage rate: 3.9816
2015 City property appraised at $713,711,067 – millage rate: 3.9751

City ad valorem (property tax) levy

2012: $2,969,904
2013: $2,862,471
2014: $2,854,105
2015: $2,864,401

2016 proposed: $2,742,206 using rolled-back rate of $4.0444 per $1,000

Wrap-up

The ad valorem levy represents property taxes. It does not include fire, trash, or other assessments.

After the meeting Mayor Witt told your reporter, "The City is on solid financial ground."

Councilman George Ward added, "I agree and the present proposed increase is negligible."

The numbers:  Appraised values (provided by Lake City)
                      Property Tax levy (Florida Dept. of Revenue(
                      Millage rates (Florida Dept. of Revenue)

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Roll-Back or Rolled-Back

Curiously, the term–roll-back or rolled-back–has a very brief and limited history. “To roll back” means to reverse or to turn back, a term first documented in 1695. But the word usually implies elimination, erasure, curtailment or annulment. It does not imply evenness or neutrality, as its use under Florida law implies, which suggests that, in its Florida tax law usages, the word is being mis-used, with a hint of deception: if to roll-back means to reverse, reduce, curtail or annul, or cut back, a reduction in one’s tax bills would fairly be assumed. That’s not the case with neutrality. The word gives governments room to roll back a little clarity about a process that has always needed more of it, rather than less, even as, in Florida, the very process is called “truth in millage.”

From Flagler Live