Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
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Tax hike under $100 for many

MONROE COUNTY -- Property owners from the Lower to Upper Keys will see aggregate tax rates within about 1 percent of last year's rate when their final bills arrive next month, according to figures compiled last week by the office of Monroe County Tax Collector Danise Henriquez.

For many that will mean a total property tax increase of under $100 for fiscal year 2013-14.

Marathon property owners will pay an aggregate rate of $1,003 for every $100,000 of property value, a 1 percent increase over last year.

The total tax rate in Key Largo will edge up a half percent to $925 per $100,000 in taxable property.

Islamorada properties will be taxed at a rate of $1,026 per $100,000 in value, virtually identical to 2012.

Owners in the Big Pine Key and Tavernier areas will pay $1,091 for $100,000 worth of property, a decrease of nearly 1 percent from last year.

Tax rates in all four areas include levies for schools, courts and jails, the health department, mosquito control, water management and general county services such as the property appraiser's and supervisor of elections' offices.

In addition, Marathon and Islamorada property owners pay their separate city taxes. Key Largo, Tavernier and Big Pine residents pay a Monroe County tax for law enforcement and road patrol. Key Largo owners pay a tax for the local fire and ambulance district. And Big Pine and Tavernier property owners pay a county government fire tax.

Though tax rates are close to flat compared to last year, it doesn't mean tax bills will be as well.

In general, total tax collections throughout the Keys are set to increase this year due to a rise in property values. The value of properties taxed by Monroe County is up 2 percent from 2012. Values in Islamorada are up 3.4 percent. Marathon's taxable property value remains level with last year.

Ultimately, the impact of this year's tax rates will vary widely, depending on the specific appraisal of each home or business.

Many properties throughout the Keys, especially those protected by a homestead exemption, can expect property tax increases of well less than $100, samples provided by Henriquez indicate. Plenty of properties without a homestead exemption will also see only minimal tax increases.

But the story will be different for some non-homesteaded properties.

One sample Islamorada property, for example, was appraised at $327,000 this year compared with $216,000 last year. Taxes on that property will go up by more than $1,100.

rsilk@keysnews.com

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