Sep 28, 2023 - News

Tampa Bay property tax rates largely hold steady as budget talks wind down

Illustration of a dollar sign etched into the tip of a fountain pen.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The new fiscal year begins Sunday, and that means Tampa Bay governments are finalizing their annual budgets.

Why it matters: County and city budgets include how much you'll pay in taxes and how the government will use that money in the coming year.

  • We rounded up the highlights for the region's major cities and counties. While most jurisdictions kept property tax rates steady, many homeowners will still pay higher taxes as the region's property values continue to increase.

In Tampa, City Council members last week approved a sweeping $1.9 billion budget that calls for double the amount of spending on affordable housing, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

  • Mayor Jane Castor originally proposed raising the property tax rate for the first time in 30 years to address a growing list of maintenance needs in the city, but council members squashed the plan.
  • The rate will hold steady at $6.21 for every $1,000 of assessed, taxable value. (That means the owner of a home valued at $150,000 with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $621 in city taxes.)

Hillsborough County commissioners also maintained property tax rates at $5.74 per $1,000 of property value plus, for residents who don't live within a city, $4.38 per $1,000 for additional services, per the Times.

  • In a contentious vote, commissioners opted to reallocate $8 million intended for the county's affordable housing trust fund to pay for road paving and sidewalk repairs.
  • It came as a blow to affordable housing advocates at a time when inflation, insurance and rising rents are pinching residents. "We should be debating increasing it, not decreasing it," one advocate said, according to the Times.

Across the bay, St. Petersburg City Council members will meet at 6pm today to hold the final vote to adopt their spending plan. The proposed budget calls for a property tax rate of $6.47 for every $1,000 of assessed taxable value, a slight decrease from the current rate.

  • But residents will see higher utility bills under rate increases approved this month.
  • Council member Richie Floyd, who voted against new rates, told Axios that he'd support a property tax increase, which affects only property owners — many of whom don't live in the city — over utility rate hikes, which burden all residents.

Clearwater City Council has one more vote left to adopt its proposed $724 million budget. The property tax rate would hold steady at $5.88 per $1,000 of property value.

  • The spending plan includes funding for major projects including a new City Hall, a new downtown parking lot and a reconstruction of the Clearwater Beach Marina, the Times reported.
  • The final budget hearing will take place at 6pm Monday.

Pinellas County's $3.8 billion budget includes an additional $40.2 million to the sheriff's office, with about $13 million going toward a statutorily required increase to the state retirement system that's squeezing local governments across Florida.

  • The majority voted to approve the countywide property tax rate of $4.74 per $1,000 of property value, same as the current year.

Sarasota's property tax rate will also hold steady at $3 per $1,000 of property value. The budget includes four new maintenance jobs in the Parks & Recreation department.

Sarasota County's property tax rate will stay at $3.44 for every $1,000 of property value. Design and construction costs for a new county administration center are among the projects accounted for in the spending plan.

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