BROOKSVILLE — For the first time since the 2007 tax year, Hernando County's taxable property value has increased.
On Thursday, Property Appraiser John Emerson released his office's annual good faith estimate of values to the county's taxing authorities. For the county government's taxing purposes, he estimates a property value of $7 billion, plus another $50 million in new construction value. Those values reflect the 2013 calendar year.
That is an increase of 1.42 percent over 2012's nearly static property value, said George Zoettlein, the assistant county administrator for budget.
"It could have been worse. It could have been negative,'' Zoettlein said. "It looks like we've turned the corner, but we've only got our big toe around the corner.''
The increase would generate about $643,562 more in property tax revenue using the current tax rate for county government. While that is a big number, Zoettlein noted that the county has budgeted for nearly $47 million in property tax revenue, and the additional revenue will not even be enough to pay for a $800,000 shortfall in library funding.
In recent years, the county has funded libraries from reserves built up from state library grants. That money is now gone, and since the grants are based on the local level of support, state grant funds have fallen significantly and now pay for only a small portion of the library budget, Zoettlein said.
The $7.05 billion in property value shows just how far the county has come from the peak of the property boom to the low point. The countywide property valuation reached a high of $11.4 billion in 2007, then fell to just under $7 billion last year, according to records kept by Emerson's office.
The County Commission will receive a proposed balanced budget by July 15, as required by law, and will have its first public discussion during a workshop Aug. 26, Zoettlein said.
Public hearings will be held Sept. 9 and 23 with adoption of the budget and tax rate after the second hearing.