Bay's Property Appraiser Calls for Tax Cut

The last several years have been good to just about anyone involved in the construction and real estate business. New developments, property and homes sales have been booming.

But there's a price to pay for all of that growth.

Bay County Property Appraiser Rick Barnett released his property tax appraisal figures this week, and property values have increased a staggering 47 percent in a year.

The huge increase in the taxable property tax rolls could mean a bonanza for taxing agencies such as the county commission and the school board.

For example, last year the school board collected about $100 million from local property owners. Based on the latest appraisal rates, that figure would increase to $149 million over the next year.

All this comes on the heels of last year’s 39 percent increase in the tax rolls. Property Appraiser Rick Barnett sent a letter to county commissioners urging them to carefully evaluate their budget needs, then cut property tax rate if possible.

"Everyday I listen to people that are struggling to pay their taxes, pay their insurance. I'm just asking them to really be conservative with the budgets, our budgets. It's the taxpayers’ money that we are spending as government officials. It’s just a tremendous amount of revenue increase. I think we need to be as conservative as possible and try to give some of that money back to the people."

While property values have increased significantly over the last seven years, the county's tax rate has stayed the same.