Volusia County — all that we know of in terms of land, homes, buildings and other man-made improvements — is worth more now than it has ever been.
The Volusia County Property Appraiser’s Office has released the 2020 pre-preliminary tax roll, and the total estimated value of all real estate — not only homes and commercial buildings, but also including unimproved lands, institutional and tax-exempt properties such as schools, hospitals, government buildings, churches and parks — now stands at $62.8 billion.
That just value is 7.6 percent higher than the 2019 figure $59.3 billion.
“That is a record for the just value,” Deputy Property Appraiser Jan Cornelius told The Beacon.
Of that grand sum, almost $39.8 billion worth of property is subject to taxation. That number could exceed $40 billion, Cornelius said, when the agency issues the preliminary tax roll on or about July 1. The latest figure for taxable properties on the tax roll is 8.7 percent higher than the 2019 tax roll of just under $36.6 billion.
By state law, the pre-preliminary tax roll must be released to the public on or before June 1 of each year. Property Appraiser Larry Bartlett and his staff, by releasing the numbers May 21, beat the deadline by 11 days.
“It was a challenge. We had staff in the office, and we had staff working from home,” Cornelius said. “But it was quiet, since the county is shut down, and the public can only come in by appointment. Mr. Bartlett said we should get it done in case some employees do get sick. They did a really good job.”
The pre-preliminary tax roll gives local and state leaders a measure of the health of the economy and the real-estate market, as they make tentative budget and taxation decisions for the upcoming 2021 fiscal year. This year’s outlook, while favorable in terms of the increasing values, is clouded by the coronavirus pandemic that has prompted massive shutdowns of once-vibrant sectors of the state’s economy and thrown millions of people out of work.
The preliminary tax roll is due to be released on or before July 1, and that document shows refinements in values, often upward.
The preliminary tax roll also contains calculations of the rolled-back tax rates, meaning the property tax rates that, if levied, would generate ad valorem revenues equal to those of the preceding year.
Any proposed mileage higher than the rollback number must be publicly advertised as a tax increase before and during the final budget deliberations in September. The new 2021 fiscal year for local governments in Florida begins Oct. 1.
As for the growth in certain localities’ tax rolls, DeLand weighs in with $2.1 billion, up 5.2 percent from its 2019 figure of $1.9 billion. Deltona’s taxable values now stand at $2.9 billion, up 9.5 percent from $2.6 last year, while Orange City, the commercial hub of Southwest Volusia, has a tax roll of $827 million, or 7.7 percent higher than the 2019 figure of $754 million.