Sarasota Keeps Tax Advantage, Won’t Raise Levies


Thanks to a robust improvement in the economy, the overall property tax rate in Sarasota County is unlikely to increase next year. Notably, in a survey by the website Florida for Boomers, the county’s property tax rate already appears as one of Sunshine State’s lowest, a ranking which should further sharpen market interest in Sarasota homes for sale.

“Raising taxes is not on the table for us,” Commissioner Christine Robinson was quoted in the Sarasota Herald Tribune as saying after the presentation in June 2015 of the $1.1 billion county budget proposed for 2016. To partly cover this budget allocation, the county plans to tap $43 million in its reserves built up during the boom years of Sarasota’s real estate market.

Construction and tourism’s tailwinds

Sarasota Keeps Tax Advantage, Won’t Raise Levies

In order to increase tax revenues, county leaders plan to capitalize on a projected hike in taxable values of over 7 percent to $22 million next year. Impact fees resulting from the growth in new construction alone is expected to generate an additional $6.4 million. With the upbeat mood in the local building sector, Sarasota is adding seven employees in county’s office processing new property developments.

The vibrant local tourism industry is likewise expected to generate more revenues for the government. According to Visit Sarasota County, the local tourism promotions entity, substantial growth in both on-season and off-season visitors can be expected as a result of aggressive marketing promotions efforts. For April 2015 alone, tourist arrivals in Sarasota rose 18.8% which translated into a 23.3% increase in direct visitor spending.

Freeze in Venice too

Meanwhile in Venice, early indications show that the city is also likely to freeze taxes, as rising property values and new construction will already result in a 6.6% increase in property assessments. Moreover, the city is estimated to have $3 million unassigned and spendable reserves, part of which will be allocated to hire new workers. Among the proposed new hires are an engineer, a bicycle-use coordinator and a multitrade inspector and plans examiner for the building department, an indication too of the accelerating pace of building activity in Venice.

The moratorium on local property tax increases indeed augur well for prospective buyers of Sarasota homes for sale. Also on the bright side, some property tax relief is offered in Florida in the form of homestead exemptions which can further help those buyers qualified under this incentive.

Looking at CDDs

Property taxes, however, don’t provide a complete reckoning about how inexpensive or costly it is to live in a particular place. Other fees, like assessments for community district development (CDD), have also to be considered by prospective buyers of Sarasota homes for sale, as these are not factored in the property taxes.

It is thus wise to seek the assistance of an expert local realtor in determining all levies, including such fees as CDDs, when making the final purchase decision. A professional real estate agent, for one, can assist in identifying communities already with existing infrastructures like roads, water and sewer, developed by the local government and therefore don’t charge CDDs.