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City may lower property tax again

The average Seminole homeowner would save 5 percent, or about $7, according to the city's budget proposal.

By WILMA NORTON

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 29, 2000


SEMINOLE -- The property tax rate in Seminole is expected to continue its five-year decline.

In the city budget to be released Friday, the proposed tax rate would drop by another 5 percent next year, saving the owner of an average home about $7.

At the same time, because of recent, massive annexations, the city plans to pay for two new deputies to patrol each day, at an annual cost of about $160,000, and will consider dropping some fees paid by businesses within the city limits.

The annexations increased the city's tax base by almost 60 percent. City Manager Frank Edmunds said he thinks the added money may allow the city to drop its occupational license fee, which brings in about $125,000 annually. And, he said, the city may be able to trim the amount of utility taxes paid by businesses within the city limits. Residential customers pay a 6 percent utility tax to the city; commercial customers pay a 9 percent utility tax.

Each percentage point paid by businesses now brings the city about $50,000 annually, Edmunds said.

But Edmunds doesn't want to make any fee cuts now. He said he wants some time to track exactly how much money the new land brings into the city and how much additional expense the larger area creates before making those decisions.

The budget also contains a new city inspector. Edmunds said that residents of the neighborhoods that voted overwhelmingly to enter the city June 13 made it clear they want strict code enforcement in their new municipality.

The rest of the proposed city budget remains about the same as this year.

The average home in Seminole this year was valued for taxes at $67,700.

The average homeowner who qualifies for a $25,000 homestead exemption would pay $137.07 in city property tax, down $7.06 from this year's $144.13.

The city property tax is only one part of a homeowner's total tax bill, which also contains assessments by the county, the School Board, the Juvenile Welfare Board and other agencies.

Figuring your taxes

Seminole is proposing a tax rate of $3.21 per $1,000 of taxable property value. To determine your property taxes, take the assessed value of your home and subtract the $25,000 homestead exemption, if you qualify. Divide that number by 1,000 and multiply by $3.21.

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