SARASOTA COUNTY –– During the budget workshop county commissioners conducted on May 21, Commissioner Alan Maio predicted that the preliminary tax values would increase between 5-6 percent.
He was a little off.
According to the preliminary property values report issued Sarasota County Property Appraiser Bill Furst last week, overall values in the county increased over 2019 by $2.90 billion, a gain over the 2019 certified values of 4.67 percent.
The preliminary property values reported by Furst amounted to $65.1 billion compared to a final certified value of $62.2 billion in 2019.
By state law, Furst is required to submit the preliminary values by June 1 as county and city leaders begin preparing their fiscal year 2021 budgets later this month. Final valuations are required by July 1.
Even though modest in size, the overall increase does give these leaders some breathing room as they plan budgets with revenues from other sources falling due to the ravaged economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The growth in the overall preliminary valuation also translates into good news for North Port and Venice as well.
Driven by the growth in West Villages, North Port saw its preliminary values climb from $4.6 billion in 2019 to $5.1 billion for 2020, a hefty 10.25 percent increase according to Furst’s report.
In Venice, overall values increased from $4.3 billion in 2019 to just over $4.5 billion in 2020, a rise of 5.84 percent.
Due to the decline in other major revenues, County Administrator Jonathan Lewis plans to make $5 million in cuts to expenditures for the 2021 budget, a direction approved by commissioners.
Lewis is also assuming that there will be no increase in the county’s millage rate of 3.3912 mills, the same rate the county has maintained for several years.
Commissioners have given no indication that they have an appetite for an increase either.
The county’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.