North Port expecting to see boost in property tax revenues

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NORTH PORT, Fla. -- According to new numbers, property values in Sarasota and Manatee counties are up more than 6%. That’s good news for your finances, but also local governments, which have been working in the red the past few years.

In North Port, city leaders tell ABC 7 they were expecting a slight increase, but the news of 9% a welcomed surprise.

"Excellent, excellent news." North Port mayor Jim Blucher is all smiles after hearing his city is expected to see the highest property value increase in the county. "We were estimating about a 3%, so you can see where this number here is much better."

The value increase could help many homeowners get their heads above water again, especially in a place with lots of room to grow. "During the recession, we were the only community -- on this side of the coast anyhow -- that grew."

It will also mean a lot more tax dollars coming in. Local governments have been watching their savings dry up in recent years.

Blucher says they've used as much as $3 million of savings in one year just to balance the budget. "We had the choice of raising taxes or lowering service. During the recession we were able to keep service close to the same."

A 6% increase is now predicted for the county as a whole. The City of Venice is also seeing around a 6% increase.

Blucher says the higher number here is probably because prices are still under-valued compared to the rest of the region. "You come down here, and you see we are a lot more affordable. That's why we are younger."

City leaders could now decide to roll back tax rates, replenish reserves, or use the money for projects like parks and roads, which could attract even more.

The latter is something blucher says has been working. "By putting the infrastructure in such that we have put in, we really have a pretty city here in North Port. The only ones that don't know that are the ones that have not visited us yet."

And those projected numbers are actually based on what the market looked like on January 1st. Property values have probably even increased since then.