Property Appraiser Releases Glowing Estimate Of Tax Values

The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office released its preliminary property tax estimates on Friday, May 26, and the Town of Loxahatchee Groves had the second-highest net value increase including new construction in the county of 15.12 percent, behind Palm Springs with 23.32 percent.

Although Loxahatchee Groves and Palm Springs had the highest value increases, they are among the smaller total value estimates in the county at $292 million and $1.1 billion, respectively.

Loxahatchee Groves’ total taxable property value rose from $254 million in 2016.

Loxahatchee Groves Town Manager Bill Underwood said the largest contributor to the new tax value estimate was probably the addition of the Loxahatchee Groves Commons shopping center to the tax rolls.

“Since we have so much — I’ll call it ‘raw’ land — farmland, agricultural land, if you have anybody that comes along, and we’ll take for instance the Loxahatchee Groves Commons at B Road, it’s easier for us to have a larger increase because we have so much agriculturally classified land,” he said. “I’m guessing that most of that $13.6 million increase in net new construction was as the result of that improvement.”

Underwood added that he received a letter this week from the property appraiser’s office explaining the property value estimates, and the effect for Loxahatchee Groves would largely negate the decrease in taxable value expected because of the anticipated approval of an additional $25,000 property tax exemption in the next general election.

“It was pretty interesting information,” he told the Town-Crier on Wednesday. “It was all about the 15.12 percent increase and how it reflected on all the cities in the county, and they added another sheet. As you know, the [legislature passed], and I’m assuming the governor is going to sign a bill to go on the next general election about increasing the homestead exemption. The property appraiser had then taken what that means to the various cities, and it’s going to be a reduction of value of some $15 million to the town. Based on the current millage rate, that would be about a $22,000 reduction in ad valorem taxes. What we just gained in improved value for net new construction is $13 million.”

Royal Palm Beach had a net increase including new construction of 7.57 percent, from $2.5 billion to $2.69 billion.

Wellington’s estimated value increase including new construction was 7.55 percent, from $7.46 billion to just over $8 billion.

“I’m very pleased with that number,” Wellington Village Manager Paul Schofield told the Town-Crier on Wednesday. “Given that we’re predominantly a residential community and we are nearly at buildout, you don’t really see a lot of new construction value in there. In past years, I have been worried about sustainability of those growth numbers, but at seven and a half percent, I think it’s a really good number.”

He said that Wellington is basically at buildout and the valuation increase is mostly in existing homes.

“You see some new construction coming on board, but not like in other communities,” he said.

With 15,000 homes going up near the village over the next decade, Schofield said that he wants to see that Wellington “remains in the game.”

“There’s a natural turnover, and every city has people who move in and move out, and we just want to make sure that we remain the most viable product in the market,” he said.

For all county municipalities, the average value increase including new construction was 8.81 percent, from over $114 billion to almost $125 billion.

Boca Raton had the highest overall property value estimate in the county of more than $22.48 billion, which was an increase of 7.07 percent. Although no municipality had a value decrease, Pahokee had the smallest value increase at 0.6 percent. The county’s net new value rose 7.1 percent.