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Jacksonville sheriff's property tax proposal: Will it cost you?

10:35 PM, Jul 13, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sheriff Rutherford says his plan to hike the tax rate to bring in the same amount of revenue as last year would mean no net increase in taxes for the citizens of Jacksonville, but that appears not to be the case.

Christopher Read has lived in Riverside for 43 years. He says it seems like his taxes are always going up and this proposal seems no different.

"It seems like it would be a tax increase to me."

Sheriff Rutherford talked to the media Thursday and said it is no tax hike on the city's citizens.

"We are not asking to raise their taxes, their taxes will remain constant with last year. They won't pay a dime more."

Here's what he means.

For example, if you have a home with $100,000 of taxable value, your taxes were 1,003 dollars last year. Property values dropped about 4 per cent this year in Jacksonville, so if your taxable assessment dropped to 96-thousand, you would pay 963 dollars. But if the millage were raised to 10.436, up 4%, taxes would be $1,002 , the same as last year.

Rutherford's theory assumes most homeowner's assessments will drop by about 4%, but that is just not the case.

If the market value of your home is much higher than your assessment , then the property appraiser must raise your assessment by 3%. It is required by state law under the Save Your Homes amendment.

That happened to John Winkler, President of Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County. The market value of his home fell $32,000, yet his assessment increased by $2,000 and he would pay $99 more in taxes under the Sheriff's proposal .

"A duck is a duck is a duck, and in this case if you are going to increase the tax rate, you  are increasing taxes on most people, " said Winkler. 

City Councilman John Crescimbini, Chairman of the Finance Committee said Rutherford's statement that it's not a tax increase is not true.

"I disagree with the Sheriff, I believe he is dead wrong on that issue. Any roll up of the millage rate is a tax increase."

Crescembini said there is a spending problem at the Sheriff's office that needs to be addressed, not a revenue problem.

Read says whatever the problem, he doesn't want to see the tax rate go up. 

"I'd rather it didn't."


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