Nassau County considers property tax hike

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - Nassau County resident Barry Lipschutz is no stranger to the possibility of property taxes going up.

He knows it's not ideal, but Nassau County authorities believe that could be their best bet to finding the $12 million currently missing from the annual budget.

"It's inevitable. I don't think we can get around it," Lipschutz said. "If we can figure out a happy medium, but I think it's like pie in the sky, you know."

It all has to do with raising the current millage rate. In laymen's terms, that's how much residents pay per every thousand dollars of assessed value on their home.

The current millage rate stands at 7.23. There's a chance officials could raise it to 9.23. So for those who have a $100,000 home, that two mill increase could mean a $200 tax hike.

How exactly did this happen? Ironically, some county lawmakers say it all started with a drop in property value.

"We're not seeing the rate of growth that we saw back in 2008 and 2009," county Commissioner Daniel Leeper said. "So with property values decreasing and tax.dollars have decreased, which is a main source of revenue."

Lawmakers are weighing other options to help bridge the gap and avoid deep service cuts. They say a 5-cent gasoline tax could generate $1.5 million. A fire tax is also a possibility.

Lipschutz isn't worried. He says if it needs to happen, it needs to happen and maybe it can be a lesson.

"If you don't know where your money's going, you know, it's gone," he said. "So it's easy to say let's do it that way."

The next budget meeting is set for June 24.

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