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Palm Beach taxable property values drop 12.4 percent

Posted On: 05-30-2010

Palm Beach taxable property values drop 12.4 percent


By William Kelly

Updated: 3:33 p.m. Thursday, May 27, 2010

Posted: 10:39 a.m. Thursday, May 27, 2010


Taxable property values in Palm Beach plunged an average of 12.4 percent over the past year, according to estimates released this morning by Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits .

That contrasts sharply with a 3.4 percent fall in the town’s taxable values last year. The 12.4 percent slightly exceeds an 11.8 percent average decline throughout Palm Beach County.

John Thomas, director of residential appraisal services in Nikolits’ office, said the town’s taxable values were fairly insulated from the economic downturn last year, but this year “the global economy finally caught up with everybody.” As the international market struggles with the debt crisis in Europe, potential high-end buyers are feeling the pressure, he said.

The lower half of the market has fallen even more because those properties were “overinflated by the generous financing given during the boom period, and they are also the ones hit hardest by unemployment in current economic scene,” he said.

More than half of the county’s 38 municipalities fared worse than the countywide average. None saw its values increase.

Lake Worth saw the sharpest decline. Its tax base plummeted 25 percent.

South Palm Beach was down 15.4 percent and Manalapan dropped 8.9 percent.

The estimates are based on the values of homes as of Jan. 1. Municipalities use them to set their property tax rates for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

The county commission and the county’s cities and towns may be forced to cut services or hike property taxes to make up for budgetary shortfalls caused by the declining taxable values .

The town’s tax roll is estimated to fall to $11.7 billion, from $13.4 billion last year.

Town Manager Peter Elwell said the drop in values presents a difficult challenge that the town staff will address in its proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The budget proposal will be taken up by Mayor Jack McDonald and the Town Council on June 21.

Nikolits’ office will release the final tax roll by July 1.

Source: Wlliam Kelly, May 30, 2010, Palm Beach Daily News


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