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What goes up is still going up, as Volusia County real estate values and tax roll set new records.

The county Property Appraiser’s Office has just released the 2022 pre-preliminary tax roll, and the figures show double-digit growth in the market values of property in the county.

“It’s hot all over,” Property Appraiser Larry Bartlett told The Beacon, regarding the scramble to buy and hold onto a piece of the county.

Within the past year, the overall worth of all` property — land, homes, commercial, industrial, institutional and tax-exempt — increased to $81.6 billion — a whopping 18.8 percent higher than the 2021 high of $68.6 billion.

Of that grand total, $48.3 billion is taxable by the county, cities, state agencies such as the School Board, and special jurisdictions such as hospital districts. The county’s 2022 tax roll is 13.1 percent larger, up from $42.7 billion last year.

Where in the county is the strongest growth?

“Daytona,” Bartlett replied. “It’s the highest in the county.”

In addition to a new Amazon facility there, he said, there are “Margaritaville, and a lot of apartment buildings.”

Housing is still leading the way in values, Bartlett noted.

“Residential is 78 percent of the new construction,” he said.

The Sunshine State and the county continue to attract new settlers, many of whom are refugees from states with harsh winters and higher tax burdens. That spells more development.

“We don’t have enough houses. People want to live here. The numbers speak for themselves,” Bartlett said.

The News Service of Florida reports the latest statewide median price of an existing single-family home is $410,000. In the Volusia County market, which includes Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach and Deltona, the median price of such a home is $350,000.

The dizzying growth in the tax base is confirmed by shoes on the ground and eyes in the skies.

“We are supposed to put eyeballs on every parcel every five years. Getting out there and really looking at it on the ground, and we get aerial photos. We have an overflight of the county every year,” Bartlett said. “We send appraisers out to look at property all year-round.”

By state law, the property appraiser in each county in Florida must release a pre-preliminary tax roll on or before June 1.

The 2022 preliminary tax roll will be released on or before July 1. The preliminary tax roll usually shows a slight increase in the just and taxable values. 

That document is the one that includes calculations of rollback tax rates, and officials of taxing authorities use the preliminary tax roll in making their budgets and taxing decisions for the next fiscal year. The fiscal year for local governments begins Oct. 1.

The “rollback rate” is the tax millage, which, if adopted as the final tax rate, would generate property-tax revenues equal to those of the prior fiscal year, without taking into account new construction or, in the case of cities, annexations.

Under the law, if a local government or taxing agency advertises a tentative or proposed ad valorem tax rate that is higher than the rollback rate, the taxing agency must inform property owners that taxes will be increased.

A simple math problem illustrates what’s going on. If a property that has a taxable value of $100,000 is taxed at 20 mills, that brings in $2,000 for the taxing agencies. 

But, if the value of that property this year has increased to $150,000, a lower tax rate of about 13.334 mills is needed to deliver the same $2,000 income for the taxing agencies. That 13.334 mills would be the “rollback rate.”

Sometimes, local governments will brag that they have “lowered the tax rate.” In our example, that might mean lowering the rate from 20 mills to 15 mills, for example. But a tax rate of 15 mills applied to the example property that’s now worth $150,000 would produce $2,250 in income for the taxing agencies — $250 more tax dollars, even though the rate is lower.

A “mill” is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in taxable property value.

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