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Pasco County property values soar by nearly 15 percent

Millions more in revenue will help officials tackle some priority projects.
Zephyrhills, which became Pasco County’s largest city with the 2020 Census, also had the largest property tax value increase in the preliminary estimate. The city saw an increase of 15.1% compared to the county’s overall 14.9% increase.
Zephyrhills, which became Pasco County’s largest city with the 2020 Census, also had the largest property tax value increase in the preliminary estimate. The city saw an increase of 15.1% compared to the county’s overall 14.9% increase. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published May 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County officials got some good news this week when Property Appraiser Mike Wells shared his estimate that property values in the county rose by 14.9% over the past year.

That leap is even larger than the 10.8% jump recorded from 2020 to 2021, a figure that the county has been using to begin its budget planning.

Given the long list of new staffing needs, maintenance projects and public safety upgrades proposed to the county commissioners at their initial budget workshop last week, higher tax revenue is a welcome surprise.

And it’s the latest evidence that Pasco County is booming, the appraiser told the Tampa Bay Times.

“This year’s estimates mark another extraordinary chapter for Pasco County within Tampa Bay’s red-hot real estate market. Pasco gained more than $1.88 billion in new construction value in 2021, thanks to exceptional single-family home growth and a strengthening commercial base that continues to reshape our landscape,” Wells wrote in an email.

“Despite building industry challenges and an evolving residential lending climate, demand continues to outpace supply, leading to low time on the market and above-asking sales,” he said, noting that Pasco issued 6,420 single-family home permits in 2021 and is still averaging 500 a month this year.

Even more surprising, Wells said, is that the value increase in retail sales per square foot “has skyrocketed from $69 per square foot in 2018 to $236 in 2021.”

“Commercial investments that were once targeted growth are quickly becoming reality too, with global companies like Amazon and Santander now calling Pasco home. The largest effort among them, Moffit’s new Pasco campus, will reshape our central corridor with a footprint larger than downtown Tampa, driving strategic development and opportunity for decades to come,” Wells said.

Mike 
Wells
Mike 
Wells

He said that is getting Pasco to the place it wants to be: “the live, work, play, and mixed-use future that buyers and employers alike are pursuing in Pasco County.”

Sheriff Chris Nocco, who keeps reminding commissioners that he doesn’t have enough deputies, will likely be a recipient of some of the tax revenue such booming development brings, since his $1.68 million request for 10 new deputies was contingent on more tax funding.

He is not the only one in line.

Pasco Fire Rescue and other county departments are also seeking more staff and other funding, a wish list that County Administrator Dan Biles said he will consider as the revenue picture becomes clearer in the coming weeks. On July 12, the commission will set a tax rate, and final budget decisions will come after public hearings in September.

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County officials are being conservative about not planning on spending what is not yet in hand.

“If the final number is higher than we were anticipating, we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to present additional projects to the Board that wouldn’t have otherwise made the cut,” said Pasco Public Information Officer Ryan Hughes.

Pasco’s cities are also looking at the estimate. In Zephyrhills, Pasco’s largest city, City Manager Billy Poe was pleasantly surprised to see an estimated preliminary tax revenue increase of 15.1%, the largest among Pasco’s cities.

The city’s growth has come with the expected infrastructure needs, including solutions to the traffic concerns frequently raised at City Council meetings, he said. But Poe also wants to be strategic with the city’s resources, focusing on projects that improve the city’s unique appeal, including the Hercules Park improvement project.

“We’re growing so fast that we’re becoming a big city, but we’re trying to balance that so we keep the community feeling,” Poe said.

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