By Ron Wolfe

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Rob Turner and his team of appraisers have completed the task of appraising more than 400,000 individual real estate parcels in Hillsborough County.

Each taxing authority in Hillsborough County has set its millage rate based on the amount of tax dollars needed to fund their annual budgets.

Property owners should have received their TRIM (Truth In Millage) notice during August. This will be followed by a property tax bill from the Tax Collectors office in November.

During my discussions with SouthShore citizens, Iíve been asked, "Ron, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) keep saying that our taxes have not increased, but my tax bill keeps going up. Why does this happen?"

The short answer is because the market value of real property in Hillsborough County has increased dramatically over the past few years and we have an aggressive Property Appraiser who is committed to fairness and equity in assessments and exemptions. In fact, the historical gap between fair market value and assessed value has been reduced or virtually eliminated. In addition, a significant number of bogus exemptions have been withdrawn or eliminated.

Based upon information available to me, the amount of taxes collected in Hillsborough County last year increased approximately 8.6 percent over the previous year. This means that our BOCC had 8.6 percent more of our money to spend than the previous year.

When the BOCC says that taxes were not increased, they mean the millage rate was not increased. The millage rate is multiplied by the taxable value of the property and then divided by 1,000 to determine the amount of taxes. A mill is one-tenth of a cent ($.001) or one-thousandth of a dollar. The millage rate for ad valorem taxes in Hillsborough County is slightly over 25, or $25 per thousand.

By special request, the Property Appraiser has provided data covering Platted Single Family Homes in SouthShore. This includes parcel counts, total market value and the average parcel market value in the communities of Apollo Beach, Gibsonton, Riverview, Ruskin, Sun City Center and Wimauma.

Next week, I plan to share the status and growth of Platted Single Family Homes in SouthShore and within each SouthShore community. This will cover the years 1999 through 2003.

Send letters to: THE VOICE of SouthShore, P.O. Box 476, Ruskin, FL 33575-0476. Phone: 813-273-8976.

E-mail: Ron@thearjaygroup.com.

Web site: http://www.buysouthshore.com.

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