Proposed property taxes leave many with questions

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Hurricane Michael's aftermath affected people personally and financially. Now, almost a year later, it could be reflected in their taxes.

Bay County's Property Appraiser Dan Sowell says if you have questions about your TRIM notice, you should call the property appraiser's office. (WJHG/WECP)

Recently you may have found a TRIM, or Truth in Millage, notice in your mailbox. It's a notice of your proposed property taxes, but many may have been surprised to see their values increased or decreased on their notices.

Pamela Evans says her assessed value decreased by about $17,000 this year.

"Well, I was kind of shocked over the assessed value, it went down quite a bit. The only good part is the property tax actually went down a little bit too," she said.

"Assessments are market driven based on previous year's sales and based on a static set of data starting January 1st," Bay County Property Appraiser Dan Sowell said. "Also got to take into account there are some taxing authorities that have proposed millage rate increases. That will affect one's taxes as well. Also storm damage, we did our very best to apply a commensurate percentage of storm damage on the damages that one has incurred."

But after Evans and her husband put in $60,000 worth of hurricane repairs to her home, she's wondering, "But, overall, what does that mean for the value of my home is what I want to know."

"Next year the adjustment that we have placed on properties that were damaged, if the repairs have been made, the adjustment will come off and it will go back to the value of the new or repaired property," Sowell said.

For homeowners like Evans, the changes can be confusing.

Sowell says if you have questions about your TRIM notice, you should call the property appraiser's office. You can call the office at 850-248-8401 or visit the office website here.

Sowell said all homestead property owners saw their assessed value increase one point nine percent. He also noted, "A homestead property owner has three years to begin repairs or rebuilding their damaged property. If the owner stays within 110% of the original square footage of the home their assessed value will reset to the pre-storm assessment. Anything over the 110% goes on the tax roll as new construction and is outside the protection of the Save Our Homes cap the first year."

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