Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
— Steve’s Marketplace —
Sometimes the truth hurts. Especially this year, when the truth really hurts for Nassau County residents and businesses.
The Truth In Millage (TRIM) notices are being mailed, revealing how much you owe in property taxes. But there is nothing trim about the excessive tax rates proposed by local government agencies.
Tax increases abound. Despite a flourishing economy and soaring property values. And that’s the unbridled truth.
When proposing tax increases, government officials must advertise them. And taxpayers can voice their feelings. “I hope they’re screaming about the tax increases,” says one county official.
People living, working and investing in Fernandina Beach will be hit the hardest. The property-tax rate for the city is proposed to increase 32 percent over the rollback rate (that would generate the same taxes as last year).
In addition, property values around the county have increased dramatically over last year. So you’ll see a higher market value of your property on your TRIM notice. You apply the tax rate to your property’s value to determine your taxes.
If your property is your primary residence, you get a reprieve as your homestead. A handsome one, that is. By state law, homestead properties are capped by how much they can be valued. Second homes or investment properties do not receive the same favorable tax treatment; businesses received some protection, but not much.
And don’t underestimate the impact of burdensome property taxes on our vibrant real estate market. Someone who buys a $500,000 house in the city limits will pay nearly $1,000 a month in property taxes alone. This seriously impacts retirees who are considering a move here, for instance.
Much of the prosperity we are enjoying is from the influx of new residents, businesses, industries, etc. A community is either growing or dying. Ours is growing, albeit at too fast of a pace for many residents.
However, we do not need our government agencies to grow more rapidly than even the population. In Fernandina Beach, property tax increases have been 9 percent for 2017, 11 percent for 2018, and a whopping 32 percent for this year.
This is the truth. And it hurts. ———————-
“Coffee & Conversations”
If you’re interested in keeping up with community issues as well as financial matters, you should attend the “Coffee and Conversations” events on the first Friday of each month at the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce.
The events will be held in an open format to encourage discussions by participants about pertinent issues. As the moderator, I’ll provide my insights as a financial columnist/advisor into relevant topics locally, nationally and globally. We’ll also invite local officials, professionals and experts to speak – in an unbiased effort to keep residents abreast of what’s happening and what matters to them.
The events will be from 9 to 10 a.m. each month, beginning Sept. 6, 2019. Coffee and pastries will be served. No RSVP is required. The Chamber of Commerce is located in the Gateway to Amelia office complex.
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor for a U.S. regional brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns appear regularly in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia, and on his website: www.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has also published a book, “All About Money,” consisting of some of his favorite columns over the past 20 years. The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].