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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Early news is bad for property values this year



It's still early, but Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov has told top county officials that property values likely will be worse than expected this year -- denting revenue.

"We’re still noodling through the numbers, but I think it will be, very likely be ... the revised forecast will be greater than that 6.5 percent (forecast)," Chief Assistant County Administrator Mark Woodard said today.

Dubov's "way, way early" indication is a 10 percent drop. The county had forecast a 6.5 percent decline in September when this year's budget was approved. (Taxes are based on the values as of Jan. 1).

"Long and the short of it is, values are going to go down," Dubov said recently.

The values will be different depending on neighborhoods and property types, and Woodard said county officials are still waiting for other indicators -- sales tax revenue, the December Consumer Price Index -- to get a better fix on budget trends. A November economic forecast from the state also suggested property values were dropping more than expected, too, Woodard said.

The upshot could be deeper than expected reductions for the 2010-11 budget, although that's a long way off. Other revenue could offset a property tax decline, Woodard said.

The county set aside more than $7 million to help stabilize its next budget, though it was lower than the $15 million County Administrator Bob LaSala sought. During last summer's budget meetings, some officials made it clear they'd look to the Sheriff's Office for cuts if finances worsened.

The County Commission has scheduled a work session for Jan. 26 to hear a budget forecast, where they'll likely give LaSala directions on spending.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:22pm]


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