Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas property tax valuations decline in all but one city

Amid upscale homes and sun-glazed oceanfront, the residents of Belleair Beach have something else to relish this year.

The barrier-island city of 1,600 has an increasing property tax base — the first municipality to show growth in Pinellas County since 2007.

Belleair Beach's taxable property value will rise 3.5 percent this year, according to an estimate by Property Appraiser Pam Dubov.

"The neighborhoods are great. It's quiet. There's great beaches," Belleair Beach Mayor Kathy Mortensen said, noting the city is nearly built out. "It's prime real estate."

Its tony residences and beachfront condos tend to keep values better than older housing stock in hard-hit areas in south Pinellas such as Gulfport and Kenneth City, Dubov said.

Some north-county communities, like East Lake and Palm Harbor, fared well. Values there are expected to decrease by only 2 to 3 percent.

Gulfport showed the county's biggest drop, with a 10.5 percent loss in property value.

Gulfport City Manager Jim O'Reilly couldn't explain it except to say the housing market is troubled. The drop could deliver a $260,000 blow to the city's $10 million annual general fund budget, if tax rates stay the same. He and other officials will meet with Dubov next week to learn more.

"Obviously it'll have an impact on the budget," O'Reilly said, noting last year's decline was less.

Countywide, property values stand to decline 4.5 percent. Although values of condos and major equipment from utilities have to be finished, Dubov doesn't expect any changes greater than 1 percentage point in either direction. The values are based on the market as of Jan. 1.

While 23 of the county's 24 cities showed declines, most avoided the double-digit drops in taxes that hammered some budgets in recent years.

"The rate of decline in the market in 2010 was dramatically less than it had been in the two prior years," Dubov said.

Some city and county budget officials will get some relief because they had budgeted for steeper declines.

The county had a 9.7 percent decline last year. Early budgeting anticipated a 6 percent decline this year.

If the reduction stays at 4.5 percent, the county stands to receive $4.1 million more than planned in taxes. But Chief Assistant County Administrator Mark Woodard cautioned the added revenue could be wiped out by cuts to Medicaid funding or other state revenue.

In Belleair Beach, 12-year residents Richard and Marion Skinner said their single-story home's value seems to be rising again after a few years of decreases. Last year, the home's market value fell from $223,000 to $212,000, according to the Property Appraiser's Office

"Our taxes have stayed pretty much stable recently," said Marion Skinner, 76. "Nobody's going to say they pay too much."

A few homes have changed hands near their home on West Hibiscus Drive, and few large McMansion-style houses have gone up. One house nearby was demolished — but otherwise it's been a safe and quiet city, said Richard Skinner, 79.

The city's tax base shrank by 7 percent in 2010. Successive years of declines pinched spending, such as road and bridge projects. Raises were eliminated for the city's staff of seven full-timers and one part-time worker.

"It'll help, because our budget has been so tight for the past three years," said Belleair Beach City Manager Nancy Gonzalez.

The city has several other factors going for it. There's virtually no commercial property — subject to spiraling values — in the heavily residential, small area.

Median household income in Belleair Beach is $90,000, according to U.S. census research. The average sales price of homes is $304,000, according to the real estate site.

"We're strictly residents. … we do have a time-share — actually, two time-shares and a motel," Gonzalez said.

If the increase holds, the city, which has a $2 million budget, stands to increase its property tax revenue by about $26,000 for 2011-12.

There were nods and smiling heads when Dubov briefed city officials this week. But no one is spending the money yet.

"That's like counting your chickens before your eggs hatch," Mortensen said.

David DeCamp can be reached at or (727) 893-8779. Follow him on Twitter at

. Fast facts

Tax base changes in Pinellas County

All but one city in Pinellas County will have their property tax bases drop again, according to projections by the Property Appraiser's Office. Overall, the county's taxable value will fall 4.5 percent. Note: the projections are average, and individual parcels vary inside a city.

Belleair Beach: +3.5%

Belleair Bluffs: -6.5%

Belleair: -3.5%

Belleair Shore: -5%

Clearwater: -3.5%

Dunedin: -2.5%

Gulfport: -10.5%

Indian Rocks Beach: -7%

Indian Shores: -7%

Kenneth City: -9.5%

Largo: -4%

Madeira Beach: -3%

North Redington Beach: -5.5%

Oldsmar: -5%

Pinellas Park: -6%

Redington Beach: -4%

Redington Shores: -5.5%

Safety Harbor: -3%

Seminole: -3.5%

St. Petersburg: -6.5%

South Pasadena: -3%

St. Pete Beach: -6%

Treasure Island: -3.5%

Tarpon Springs: -4.5%

Source: Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office

Pinellas property tax valuations decline in all but one city 05/07/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 8, 2011 4:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida TaxWatch calls out $180 million of questionable spending in state budget


    Florida TaxWatch, a Tallahassee thinktank, has released its annual "budget turkey" list that calls on Gov. Rick Scott to veto nearly $180 million in special projects tucked into the budget, mostly in transportation.

    Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch's vice president for research, presents the organization's 2017 turkey list.
  2. U.S. plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind


    WASHINGTON — Preparing for North Korea's growing threat, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday.

    n this May 21 file photo people watch a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. With North Korea's nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.
  3. A breakdown of the proposed new state budget by the Florida Association of Counties.
  4. Gradebook podcast: Budgets, pre-k, achievement gap and more


    As classes let out across Florida, school district leaders continue to analyze how they're going to balance their budgets given the constraints proposed by state lawmakers.  Reporter Jeff Solochek and editor Tom Tobin discuss the concerns district finance officials are raising as they look at the budget while …

  5. Boehner: Trump's term 'disaster,' aside from foreign affairs


    WASHINGTON — Former House Speaker John Boehner says that aside from international affairs and foreign policy, President Donald Trump's time in office has so far been a "complete disaster."

    John Boehner said he's been friends with Trump for 15 years, but still has a hard time envisioning him as president.