Sarasota County’s property tax rate, also known as the millage rate, is currently 25 percent lower than it was in fiscal year 2000.
Sarasota County Government’s countywide millage rate of 3.46 mills is the second lowest of the 67 counties in the State of Florida. The millage rate is applied to the taxable value of a property. One mill means that the property owner is assessed one dollar for each $1,000 in taxable value. If a property is valued at $100,000, then the portion of the property tax bill for Sarasota County Government will be $100.
During the housing boom of the early 2000’s, the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) lowered the millage rate eight times. When the recession hit, millage rates were held flat, and Sarasota County property tax collections dropped nearly 40 percent by the low point of the recession compared to their prior peak. This resulted in significantly less revenues to provide services to a growing population.
Property tax revenues are deposited into the county’s general fund where they are used to fund BCC-controlled county departments such as libraries, parks, lifeguards, and Health and Human Services. The budgets of the constitutional officials such as the Sheriff, Clerk of Circuit Court and County Comptroller are also funded out of the general fund. Approximately 60 percent of the general fund budget goes to the constitutional officials’ budgets and the remaining 40 percent goes to the BCC-controlled county department budgets.
The total expenditure budgets of BCC-controlled departments have increased by just four percent from 2009 to 2022, from $127.5 million to $132.7 million. If these departments had increased their expenditures by the annual inflation rate, their 2022 expenditure budgets would have been $164 million, more than $36 million higher than their actual budgets. However, the county has continuously found ways to do more with less and has not pursued a millage rate increase in 23 years. And, once again, the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget for Sarasota County does not include a millage increase.
As the great recession eased, property values gradually rebounded thanks to our exceptional quality of life, but it wasn’t until 2021 that Sarasota County’s property tax collections reached the previous high point from 2008.
As property values increase again, it’s important to remember that despite potentially higher values for the county in fiscal year 2023, homestead property values are capped at three percent growth on their property tax bills, and non-homestead property values are capped at 10 percent.
Whether property values rise or fall, Sarasota County remains committed to providing consistently excellent service to our residents.
For more information about the county’s budget, call 311 or visit scgov.net.