The news that property values have drastically declined was unwelcome but came as no surprise to city budget experts.
The drop — into the double digits for most — was about what most expected.
Seminole's Harry Kyne, for example, said he was off by about $12,000. Unfortunately, Kyne said, he was projecting the city would have $12,000 more in income from property taxes than it will have according to the preliminary figures released last week by Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov.
The preliminary numbers show the overall taxable value of land within Seminole's city limits has dropped an estimated 10.4 percent since 2008. That means land in the city is worth about $34.9 million less now than it was a year ago.
While steep, the decrease in Seminole's taxable property values is slightly better than the overall county, which saw values decline by about 11.1 percent.
By comparison, Pinellas Park did really well. It was one of only six Pinellas municipalities that saw a single-digit decrease — about 8.7 percent. Overall property value dropped by about $298.7 million since last year.
"Things are pretty much as we had anticipated," Pinellas Park spokesman Tim Caddell said, although he agreed that it's sad when an 8.7 percent drop in property values is a good thing.
The main reason for the relatively low drop in taxable value in Pinellas Park is likely a result of the lower increases in the years when values were skyrocketing across the county, Caddell said. Because Pinellas Park's values did not go up so high, they don't have as far to fall, he said.
Both Kyne and Caddell said it's too early to tell how much city budgets might be hit by the decrease in property values. The numbers are preliminary and could actually get somewhat better as the summer and the budget process go on. And, Kyne said, other numbers, such as the cost of health insurance, are not available. Until all the numbers are in, it's impossible to tell what could happen to city budgets.
Anne Lindberg can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8450.