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Palm Coast Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 7 years ago

City staff proposes lowering tax rate

by: Megan Hoye Staff Writer

Palm Coast staff has recommended a millage rate of 4.2705, a slight decrease from the tax rate for last year, when the rate was 4.2958 mills.

Chris Quinn, Palm Coast’s finance director, gave a presentation on the proposed 2013-2014 budget to the Palm Coast City Council during a workshop on Tuesday morning. That presentation included the proposed tax rate of 4.2958 mills. The council set its maximum property tax rate at 4.5 mills in July.

The 2012-2013 tax rate was the first time in a decade that the city’s tax rate was higher than 4.0 mills, but even though millage rates have been increasing, because of decreased property values, tax revenue collected by the city has declined.

“In reality, just because the millage rate goes up or down, it doesn’t equate to how much you pay in taxes,” said Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon, indicating that there are other variables.

For example, the tax rate in the 2007-2008 fiscal year was 2.96234 mills. But the total taxable property value in the city was about $7 billion. That year, the city collected about $20 million in ad valorem taxes.

By contrast, for the 2012-2013, the millage was significantly higher, at 4.29580. But the city’s properties were also worth significantly less, with a total taxable value in the city of about $3.6 billion, so the city collected about $15.1 million in ad valorem taxes.

Quinn said the combination of property value and millage rate determines whether the amount of money a property owner pays increases or decreases.

Taxable property values within the city are up from last year by 1.012%.

In 2013, Palm Coast had the third-lowest millage rate among cities with a population between 60,000 and 90,000, Quinn said.

The two cities with lower rates were Weston, with a millage rate in 2013 of 2.0; and Boca Raton at 3.41. However, both cities have higher total property values than Palm Coast does.

Therefore, while Palm Coast collected about $15 million in property taxes during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Weston collected about $13 million and Boca Raton collected about $50 million.

The proposed tax rate for the 2013-2014 fiscal year would generate about $15.2 million for the city. Last year’s tax rate generated about $15.1 million.

At press time, City Council members had not yet deliberated about the proposed tax rate.

The council will vote on the final tax rate during two public hearings, on Sept. 4 and Sept. 18. Both hearings will begin at 5:05 p.m., at the Palm Coast Community Center.

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