Panama City City Hall was packed to capacity Thursday morning with citizens, trim notices in hand, looking for tax relief from Bay County commissioners.
They didn't find immediate relief, but commissioners hope a trip to the state capital will provide permanent relief.
Jerry Girvin, Bay County Commissioner, said, "I think we made the right motion in saying, let’s fix the root cause of the problem, go to tally with Mr. Barnett, approach the governor, DOR, see if we can get evaluations dropped, and quickly, then I'm prepared to make a motion to reduced a mil/mila and a half for immediate relief."
Since Bay County's high property tax is a direct result of inflated property values, Girvin hopes the governor will give the property appraiser the go-ahead to reevaluate Bay County property.
Reappraising property will take time, so commissioners will ask for permission to run on this year’s current budget.
"Ask to give emergency power to go back to last year’s millage rate, last year’s budget, last year’s values, continue as we are right now in this budget year pending the DOR coming over and reevaluate all property, and we may change budget mid-year."
Commissioner George Gainer made a motion to roll back the millage, but his motion died for lack of a second.
"The motion would have taken the tax roll and rolled it back to last year’s level so whatever your tax bill was last year it would have been this year plus five percent, which would have covered the cost of living."
Commissioners may consider that option depending on what happens in Tallahassee. They hope to meet with the governor sometime next week.
Bay County commissioners are asking homeowners who are unhappy with their home’s appraised value to petition for a value adjustment. It's a fairly simple application that could cut back your property tax significantly.
Petition to Value Adjustment Board
To petition the value adjustment board, you'll need to fill out and file an application with the clerk of the court's office. You can find the petition by logging onto Bay County's website.
Click on the link to the property appraiser’s office, then go to form downloads. There you'll find the petition to the Value Adjustment Board. You can also pick up a copy of the petition at the property appraiser’s office. The last day to submit your petition is September 12th.