Thursday, August 30th, 2012 at 9:40am

Elected Officials Raising Property Taxes!

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Republicans can’t be browbeating Democrats about raising taxes when their guys are just as guilty.  The Right Side of the Lake is a conservative newsletter with a “tell it like it is” attitude and the fact is many local Republican officials are no better than the biggest tax and spend liberals in Washington D.C.  These Republican “leaders” plan to raise property tax millage rates because they do not have the courage to make hard budget cutting decisions.

Last week, we gave all of our readers a homework assignment.  We asked you to study your Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice.  There are a lot of numbers and figures in the notice, but there are only a few that really need your focus.

The first number is in the Property Appraiser Value Information box located midway down the page.  Under “Assessed Value (applies to school millage)”, you will see a prior year 2011 assessed value and a current year 2012 assessed value.  This it what the county says your property was worth last year and what it is worth this year.  Your assessed value is what your taxes are based on, so it is very important that this number is correct. One big thing to keep in mind, according to Frank Royce, the Deputy Property Appraiser for Lake County, Lake County’s total assessment (amount of all appraised properties) dropped 6.19%.  View Property Appraisers assessment report for Lake County. Therefore, most property owners should have lower assessed values for 2012.  If you do not have a lower assessed value, you should call the Property Appraiser’s office and find out why.

A millage rate is defined as the amount per $1,000 in assessed value used to calculate property taxes.  For clarity and ease of understanding, you only need to focus on two columns near the top of the TRIM notice when considering your millage rates—Column 2 and Column 7.  Column 2 is the actual millage rate used in 2011.  Column 7 is the millage rate the taxing authorities propose to use to calculate your taxes for 2012.  If the rate in Column 7 is higher than the rate in Column 2, your elected officials are trying to raise your taxes!

There are various taxing authorities that control what you pay in taxes.  Column 1 of the TRIM Notice lists those entities.  The Right Side of the Lake did a comparison of the various millage rates and this is what we found for a property owner in Leesburg.  If you live in a different city your rates will be different as you find out later.

  • The County – Rates increased by 7.3%; from 4.7309 to 5.0786
  • Ambulance Service – No Increase
  • Fire Service – No Increase
  • Public Schools By State Law – Rates decreased by 1.4%; from 5.1460 to 5.0720
  • Public Schools By Local Board – No Increase
  • Leesburg, Florida City Taxes – Rates increased a whopping 23.2%; from 4.3179 to 5.3179
  • Stormwater, Parks and Roads – Rates increased 8.6%; from 0.4984 to 0.5412
  • Independent Special Districts, Voter Approved Debt Payments – Rates increased 72.6%; from 0.1101 to 0.1900
  • Water Authority – Rates increased 6.2%; from 0.2405 to 0.2554
  • Hospital Taxing District – No Increase

 View historic millage rates (1993-2011) for Lake County and other taxing district.

Here are the notable points about this property tax information.

  1. These increased millage rates or tax hikes are tentative.  The Lake County Board of County Commissioners and the Leesburg City Commission have not officially adopted them.  Final approval will be made at public hearings.  The Lake County final approval hearing is scheduled for September 11th at 5:05 pm in the Commission Chambers in Tavares.  The City of Leesburg final approval hearing is scheduled for September 6th at 5:00 pm at City Hall.  Property owners need to attend these meetings to fight these tax hikes!
  2. Your elected officials are counting on your lack of understanding to increase your taxes.  Property owners in Lake County have suffered unmercifully in this market and property values have plummeted to a point at which many people cannot sell their property.  Instead of passing the deserved benefit of lower assessments to property owners, as they should, these politicians are trying to trick you into believing your taxes did not go up.
  3. These public officials who voted for the tax hikes will do anything to defend their vote.  Instead of doing the right thing by strategically cutting budgets, they are going to pull out the Armageddon card to scare you into believing services will cease to exist without these tax hikes.
  4. Don’t accept the “oh it is just a few cents” argument.  A 23% increase by the City of Leesburg in its millage rate is a 23% tax increase.  You will hear arguments from the politicians that the average bill only went up $100-$200.  Is that a good reason for government to pick your pockets?  In these days and times, a couple of hundred bucks is a lot of money.
  5. These tax hikes affect everyone.  If you are a renter, increased property taxes will result in higher rents.  For businesses that are struggling to remain open, these increases will aggravate an already bad job market.  It is not a good time to increase taxes on businesses!
  6. Lake County and Leesburg are not the only taxing authorities that are trying to increase tax rates.  Oh my goodness, the list of tax increase offenders include Astatula, Clermont, Eustis, Fruitland Park, Groveland, Howey in the Hills, Minneola, Mount Dora, Tavares, and Umatilla.  Some of you will have a heart attack when you see the huge increases!  View the tax authority increases and date of public hearings as supplied by the Property Appraisers office.
  7. The vast majority of these tax hikes are being passed and implemented by Republican officials!

These millage rates are a big deal – don’t get bamboozled.

What to do?

All citizens and property owners in Lake County need to get engaged and let their voices be heard.  If you don’t believe millage rates should be increased, email your commissioners and let them know your opinion.  Below are their names and email addresses.

To email County Commissioners:


Welton Cadwell-

Jimmy Conner-

Jennifer Hill-

Sean Parks-

To email Leesburg City Commissioners:


Bill Polk-

Sanna Henderson-

John Christian-

Lewis Puckett-

David Knowles-

Next, attend the public hearings in your cities and Lake County.  Are you willing to attend a meeting to keep your tax bill from being increased by hundreds of dollars?  Your silence will cost you a lot of money.

Finally, tell you friends and neighbors and forward this email to everyone in your address book.  Get the word out that Lake County property owners are about to have their tax rates increased and there is little time left to fight against them.

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5 Responses to “Elected Officials Raising Property Taxes!”

  1. to “i miss the good old days”, in addition to being better for your wallet, they were better for the environment also.

  2. Renick and Stewart never voted to raise taxes!!! They were much better for my wallet than the current bunch.

  3. How right you are. We just keep shelling out more and they keep filling their pockets. The middle class is always supporting the upper class.

  4. Name Taxed says:

    Great article and the spreadsheets ought to be on billboards throughout the county. The main thing to note is that during the boom years (2003-2006), the millage rates remained about the same even though assessed values doubled. Where will we be if and when our property values come back- taxed out of house and home because they will not give anything up. Raising the millage rates displays these authorities refusal to endure the consequences of the recession like the rest of us and shows they are bold enough to ask us to bear even more. None are worse than the Lake County Water Authority with its bloated budget. This group will take as much as they can get as they have proven by looking for salary increases during these times. Attending the hearings is important but it won’t keep them from doing what they plan. They know the non-public working taxpayers are outnumbered and it was proven in the last vote.

  5. “Independent Special Districts, Voter Approved Debt Payments – Rates increased 72.6%; from 0.1101 to 0.1900”

    We have got to pay the piper for all those bonds Bob McKee worked worked so hard to get us in debt for that new office building, grossly overbuilt parking garage (even after they backed it off main street and built the Havill and McKee offices on main st.) and unneeded courthouse expansion. If these criminals were really concerned about saving our tax dollars Bob McKee would not be leasing the office behind the golden Corral and Sonny’s BBQ in Eustis and the county would not be leasing the Public Works offices off Kurt Street. Don’t they both belong to the same well connect land lord?

    Wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to have left Havill and McKee in the 1997 renovated historic courthouse and saved that $9 MILLION for their offices and used it instead for new Public Works Offices? Why did we build these $9 MILLION Offices for McKee and Havill and not build them big enough that Bob McKee could close and integrate the Eustis Offices with the Tavares Offices which are less than 3 miles apart?

    It looks like most of the endangered lands $36 MILLION went to the friends of the well connected. Most of the other borrowed money has gone to CPPI or other businesses owned by McKee’s friend Dopmenico Scorpio. Just wait until all those $560 plus MILLIONS in School buildings debt CERTIFICATES OF PARTICIPATION materialize if you thid the cheeze is binding now.

    Speaking of Bob McKee has anyone seen him lately? We didn’t see him or hear anything from him during the death and funeral of Ed Havill. We just figured that was because the Havill family had asked folks like McKee and Baker not to attend the sevices. We did notice that Ms. Bonnie McKee has taken her retirement and thought perhaps Bob McKee had decided to join her.

    The problem is all these outsiders that has robbed this county blind will be gone back to New York or floated off to New Utopia and left us to hold the bag on the debts they stuck us with!

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