Saturday, January 20, 2018
Business

Hillsborough property values are up for third year

TAMPA — Hillsborough County expects to see a third straight year of growth in real estate values, a clear sign of economic recovery.

Taxable property values increased between 2012 and 2013 by about 5.79 percent to a base of about $67.7 billion, according to the most recent weekly estimate from the county property appraiser's office.

That comes after a 5.29 percent jump last year and less than a 1 percent increase the year before that.

South Tampa and waterfront properties saw the most improvement in the new estimate.

"You're seeing the effects of an improving economy," said Bob Henriquez, Hillsborough's property appraiser. "A lot of this has to do with supply and demand. As folks feel more comfortable about spending money or have money to spend, unemployment goes down. More people are moving into the area. They're buying houses. People have better jobs."

Today marks the deadline that the preliminary estimates must be certified. Local governments and taxing authorities will use this first step in eventually determining the rates they will charge property owners this fall.

Although the last budget year was strong for Hillsborough real estate, Henriquez said he couldn't be sure what's driving it. It was not clear how much of the improvement was because of investor dollars, as opposed to residents buying homes they intended to live in.

In any case, with another $30 million in estimated property tax revenue coming, Hillsborough County budget director Tom Fesler outlined a few main areas for increased spending.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office will take in an extra $7 million, adding to its budget of about $380 million.

Another $3.5 million is being budgeted for the county's repair, renovation, replacement and maintenance fund. The county will also allot more for infrastructure and the fire department.

Hillsborough's increase in real estate value mirrors the economic recovery occurring in nearby counties. Pasco expects about a 3.75 percent increase in taxable value, which would mark its first year of increased revenue since the recession. Pinellas estimates a 5.6 percent jump, with all 24 municipalities showing two consecutive years of gains.

But just because property values are up does not mean no economic challenges are ahead.

In Tampa, for example, Mayor Bob Buckhorn expects to start the 2014-15 budget process with a revenue shortfall that could be $10 million to $15 million. Still, that is the smallest estimated shortfall in years, down from $34.5 million three years ago.

After the real estate market crashed, the city put off some spending for facility maintenance and vehicle and equipment replacement.

"Even though we're going through a recovery, we're still faced with the legacy of the recession," chief financial officer Sonya Little told the City Council at a recent budget workshop.

Times staff writers Richard Danielson, Lisa Buie and Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Julie Kliegman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401. Follow @jmkliegman on Twitter.

Comments
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

TAMPA — You could sketch an economic history of the city of Tampa — and maybe get a glimpse of its future — just by looking at the old J. Seidenberg & Co./Havana-American Cigar Factory.It opened in 1894, making it Ybor City’s second-oldest brick ciga...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Want to buy into an exchanged-traded bitcoin fund? You might have a long wait

NEW YORK — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fun...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

A Georgia mother has gone viral for charging her 5-year-old "rent." Yup — the kid pays up for food, water, cable and electric, too.Essense Evans described in a Facebook post how she handles her daughter’s allowance. The post, written on Saturday, was...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Addicted to your smartphone? Now there’s an app for that

Did you text? Sorry, I can’t see messages right now. Arianna Huffington locked my phone.The media tycoon turned wellness entrepreneur wants to keep you out of your phone, too, with a new app called Thrive. Its goal is to make it cool for a generation...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

ST. PETERSBURG — Tony Jannus’s history-making flight in an early seaplane — simultaneously as ungainly and graceful as a pelican on the wing — is what Mayor Rick Kriseman calls an "under-told and under-appreciated" story, but a team of local history ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — The newest hope for transportation in the Tampa Bay area is a bus rapid transit system projected to cover the 41-miles separating St. Petersburg from Wesley Chapel and attract 4,500 new riders at a fraction of the cost of light rail....
Updated: 9 hours ago
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners on Friday unveiled a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit.Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional transit p...
Published: 01/19/18
Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

NEW YORK — Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. The fee of $99 for an annual membership will not change, the company said Friday. The online retailer had added the monthly payment option about two yea...
Published: 01/19/18
Cuba’s tourism is booming despite Trump’s tougher policy

Cuba’s tourism is booming despite Trump’s tougher policy

HAVANA — On a sweltering early summer afternoon in Miami’s Little Havana, President Donald Trump told a cheering Cuban-American crowd that he was rolling back some of Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba in order to starve the island’s military-run economy...
Published: 01/19/18