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Tampa Bay counties are setting their property tax rates. Here's what that means for you

For Sale sign in front of a house
Gabriella Paul
WUSF Public Media
Several counties and cities across the greater Tampa Bay region are in the process of approving millage rates for the upcoming fiscal year.

Property values are skyrocketing all across Florida, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues for local governments.

Despite some counties seeing double-digit percent increases in assessed home values, several don’t intend to decrease property taxes much. Even those that are planning to reduce their millage rates will still receive millions more in revenue compared to the last fiscal year.

In Pasco County, taxable property values are up 16.7% this year. That’s already taking into account benefits such as Florida’s “Save Our Homes” provisions.

If Pasco County keeps its tax rate the same for the coming year, it expects to bring in an additional $87.6 million, compared to the 2021 fiscal year's ad valorem property tax revenue of $361 million.

Several counties and cities across the greater Tampa Bay region are in the process of approving millage rates for the upcoming fiscal year. We’ve compiled a list of important dates and decisions regarding property taxes in your area, as well as a breakdown of the jargon.

Breaking down your property taxes

Millage Rates

Millage rates are used to calculate how much you owe in property taxes. The rate represents the amount you pay for every $1,000 of your property’s assessed value.

One mill is equal to one one-thousandth of a dollar —or $1 for every $1,000— of property value.

For example, in 2021 the city of Tampa had a total millage rate of 19.71. This means that Tampa homeowners paid $19.71 for every $1,000 of their property’s taxable value.

County and School Levies

Final millage rates are a compilation of several different categories. School and county levies are the largest.

A county levy is established by its board of county commissioners and is mainly used for the general operating budget and for county services, such as supporting the fire and police department, public transportation, and improvements to public roads and buildings.

A school levy is determined by school district board members.

Each city/municipality also has its own millage rate — To get an idea, check out the tables below to see Hillsborough County’s final millage rates for 2021.

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office

When decisions will be made

Summer is the season when most local governments make their decisions about the tax they will charge property owners.

While county and city millage rates are being determined now, school levies will not be finalized until September. However, some millage rate increases for schools will be on upcoming ballots in August.

Here are some clues about when some of the larger counties and cities will be voting —and what they may be considering.

City of Tampa

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor presents her budget to the City Council on Aug. 4.

Hillsborough County

County Levy

The proposed county budget will be presented on July 20.

School Levy

Hillsborough County Public Schools are proposing the “Strong Schools, Stronger Hillsborough” millage referendum, which will increase the millage rates for schools by one mill beginning July 1, 2023.

If voters pass this proposal on Aug. 23, the ballot initiative would increase Hillsborough County residents’ property taxes by $1 per $1,000 of taxable income. The levy — if passed — would need to be approved by voters every four years.

The property tax increase is expected to generate $146 million annually, which would go towards increasing the salaries of teachers and staff for recruiting and retention, expanding art, music, physical education and workforce development programs.

St. Petersburg

City Levy

On July 21, the City of St. Petersburg proposed to reduce the city millage rate from 6.66 to 6.53 for the 2023 fiscal year.

This means that the property tax millage rate will be down 13 cents per $1,000 from last fiscal year, but because of the increase in the city’s property value, the city is expected to bring in $20.5 million more dollars than last fiscal year.

Pinellas County

County Levy

The county budget was presented on July 19, which included a total countywide 0.4 mil decrease from the current rate of 5.1.

Pasco County

County Levy

On July 12, the county commission voted to approve the 2023 fiscal year’s proposed millage rate.

While the operating property tax rate remained the same at 7.6 mills, there were small increases implemented in the "debt service" millage category. It's designed to combat higher bond repayments the county has to make on projects such as ones for the libraries and at the county jail.

These increases led to an overall county property tax rate increase of about 7 cents per $1,000 in appraised taxable property value for the next fiscal year.

However, residents will be expected to pay more than an extra 7 cents in property taxes due to the county’s 16.7% increase in property value.

School Levy

The District School Board of Pasco County is proposing an initiative called “Lift Up Pasco Schools,” which intends to increase the millage rates for schools by no more than one mill beginning July 1, 2023. Pasco County residents will decide whether or not to approve this increase on Aug. 23.

If passed, the ballot initiative would increase Pasco County residents’ property taxes by $1 per $1,000 of taxable income — or less, depending on what the school board decides each year during the budgeting process — and would be voted on every four years.

This property tax hike is intended to raise money to improve salaries for non-administrative school district employees with the goal of combating staffing shortages.

The district has been holding community meetings about the referendum since April. Find a full list of the meetings that remain here.

Polk County

County Levy

On July 19, the county commission voted to approve the 2023 fiscal year’s proposed millage rate.

The countywide millage rate was decreased from 6.9 to 6.7, but due to the increase in taxable property value, the county is expected to bring in an additional $45 million compared to last fiscal year.

The Polk County Property Appraiser certified a 17.75% increase in taxable property value from last fiscal year.

Sarasota County

County Levy

Sarasota County is proposing an increase in their general operating millage rate. However, compared to last fiscal year the total county levy is proposed to decrease by about 1 cent per $1,000 dollars.

There will be public hearings in September to finalize the millage rates.

The Sarasota County Property Appraiser certified that the taxable property value has increased 17.6% from last fiscal year to $82.5 billion. This means that despite the millage rate decrease, county residents should still expect to pay more in property taxes.

Manatee County

County Levy

Seeing similar trends to the rest of Tampa Bay, the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office marked that property value is 18% higher than last year.

On July 28, the County Commissioners voted to reduce the county-wide millage rate by .2 from last fiscal year, meaning taxpayers should be expected to pay $6.33 per $1,000 in appraised taxable property value for the next fiscal year.

The County Commissioners asked to see what further millage cuts would look like and have that dated presented in September when the budget will be adopted.

City of Lakeland

County Levy

Lakeland's local government unanimously voted Jul. 26 to advertise a potential increase in the city's tax rate.

It's now up to the Commissioners to decide if a tax hike of $5.43 to $5.76 per $1,000 of assessed value is in the best interest of the community.

The new income would help fund nearly $3 million in public safety initiatives, including hiring more police officers.

Sarah Petrowich is the WUSF Stephen Noble Social Media intern for summer of 2022.