Beach mayor, residents upset over tax increases

Property taxes at beaches may raise 22 percent

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville's City Council voted Tuesday to raise property taxes to 10 percent and some residents in Duval County are now finding out that they will likely see an even higher tax hike. 

The beaches community is upset because in Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach residents have to pay two sets of taxes -- one for the county and another for the city. That means with the proposed maximum county hike, residents at the beach will likely see a property tax hike to the tune of 22 percent.

"What's frustrating is you see the taxes going up and up and it's the county that's doing it," said Mayor of Neptune Beach, Harriet Pruette. "It's eating us out of house and home, it's killing the beaches."

Pruette is not happy, saying it's unfair that beach residents have to pay city taxes and county taxes.

Neptune actually lowered their property taxes last year, but now Duval County's hike has wiped out that change. Mayor Pruette is pointing fingers at her counterpart in Jacksonville, Mayor Alvin Brown.

"I feel bad for the Jacksonville City Council because I can't really blame them," Pruette said. "The mayor sent a budget to the council and said, 'you deal with it.' And now, to keep these services that are vital, they need to make these hardcore decisions."

Property owners like Deke Cobb who owns nine properties in Neptune Beach, says the hike is going to hurt. Cobb told Channel 4 that being a property owner at the beach, he's all too familiar with the dynamics of taxes from various governments.

"It could be $2,000 to $3,000 each year," said Cobb. "And that's where you get the battle of this government versus in-town government. One's trying to raise, one's trying to stay the same, but at the end of the day, you always get raised."

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