Pasco County has received its preliminary assessed values from Pasco County Property Appraiser Mike Wells, and the news is looking good for county coffers.
The preliminary numbers show that Pasco County has a $35 billion taxable assessed value, which represents a 10.8% bump over this year, according to Robert Goehig, the county’s budget director.
He characterized the increase as “an astounding figure.”
County Administrator Dan Biles told commissioners: “The general goal today is to give you a high-level overview in respect to where we are with revenue, and some required expenses. But also to kind of give you an idea of some of the business plan initiatives in the various funds that we are recommending, and then get your feedback, as we go through.”
The increased valuation is expected to generate about $24.7 million in additional property tax revenues, Goehig said.
“We have an informal agreement with the sheriff, in which we split any new property tax revenues,” Goehig said. So, of the $24.7 million, $12.36 million would go to the sheriff’s budget.
The other $12.36 million would go to the county board’s spending plan, and to the Pasco County Property, Pasco County Tax Collector and to the Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller.
Of the $12.36 million, $4.92 million would be deducted off the top because it will go to the community redevelopment agencies and the tax increment financing area, Goehig said.
That leaves a total of $7.44 million available and the county has identified a number of “must spends” for a portion of that money, the budget director added.
Those must spends include:
- Increasing the general fund reserve to 16.7%
- Bringing Fire Station No. 3 and Fire Station No. 9 online.
- Covering about $600,000 in additional expenses relating to employee retirement, for general and public safety employees
- Meeting contractual obligations with Starkey Park and Gulf Harbors
- Providing additional funds for the county’s contributions to state Medicaid, typically that increases $300,000 to $400,000 a year.
Other spending proposals include a 4% raise for county employees and firefighters; some IT hardware and software purchases; the construction of a road to lead to the Fire Training Facility in the central part of the county; an athletic field renovation program; a trails, blueways and greenways master plan; a library master plan; and some dredging, permitting and design work.
Additional staff also is being recommended to meet the county’s growing needs.
For instance, the county is putting together a technical team and a zoning team to help clear the bottleneck in its planning and development department, with the positions being paid primarily through fees.
The county also wants to beef up its code enforcement staff.
Goehig highlighted some factors contributing to the increased revenues.
For instance, the new construction figure was just over $1 billion last year and is almost $1.4 billion this year, he said.
“Anyone who has spent any time in Pasco County driving around would understand this new construction value of $1.38 billion,” Goehig said. In fact, that category has experienced an increase in values every year since 2014, he added.
The value for reevaluations — which are properties that have had significant improvements — nearly doubled this year, from about $1.1 billion to about $2 billion, he said.
Next, the county will receive a final assessed taxable value figure by July 1 and the board is expected to set the Truth in Millage (TRIM) tax rate at its July 6 meeting.
Once that rate has been set, it can be lowered, but cannot be increased, Goehig said.
The budget will be produced and distributed to the board before the public budget adoption hearings in September.
Pasco County Budget projections
Fiscal year 2022
Base Taxable Value:: $31.6 billion
New construction: $1.4 billion
Reevaluations: $2 billion
Total taxable value: $35 billion
Source: Pasco County
July 1: Property Appraiser sends final assessed taxable value figures to county
July 6: Pasco County Commission is scheduled to set the Truth in Millage tax rate, which can be lowered, but not increased before the budget is adopted.
September: County board adopts final budget, after public hearings.
Published June 16, 2021