By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Property owners will see their county taxes go up in the next year, based on a tentative tax rate set by county commissioners last week.
The county tax rates are divided into several categories and the during the meeting, county commissioners voted to tentatively increase the general fund tax rate by 5.6 percent and the emergency services district tax rate by 15.5 percent, increases that were higher than the original amount recommended by county staff.
Part of the reason for the increase is a request for raises for county administration staff and the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.
In the vote for the general fund tax increase, Commissioner Bob Solari dissented, but in three other votes for the emergency services district, the land acquisition and the municipal services taxing unit rates, the commission voted 5-0 to approve them.
This would be the first county tax increase in five years although the rate could still decrease after two public hearings and a final vote in September.
Joe Baird, county administrator, praised the county departmental staff for their hard work the past few years, doing more with less, and noted that the pay increase wasn't the amount the various employee unions had requested, but it was something.
Sheriff Deryl Loar pledged to spend his requested budget increase of $1.8 million on 3 percent raises for deputies and civilian employees and to help pay for an increase in Florida Retirement Services cost.
The county rates set for property taxes vary by area, unincorporated and municipal, based on the services brought to the area by the county.
The following examples of property taxes are created using a home with a total taxable value of $150,000 and are estimated by rounding the rates to two decimal places.
If the home is located in Indian River Shores, the county taxes would be $3.64 per $1,000 of taxable value and a homeowner would receive a bill of about $546. This year, the same homeowner paid about $520.
In the municipalities of Fellsmere, Orchid, Sebastian and Vero Beach, the county taxes come to $5.62 per $1,000 in taxable value. The homeowner's tax bill for next year would be approximately $1,004, compared to $778 last year.
In the unincorporated county, the taxes will come to $6.69 per $1,000 in taxable value meaning about $1,004 in tax bills for the homeowner, where this past year the total was $990.
For more information about the county government proposed budget or other upcoming meeting agendas, visit www.ircgov.com.