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Have you looked at your TRIM notice?

BY JENNIFER CABRERA / SEPTEMBER 7, 2019

Calculate your increase and report it in the comments below

If you own property, you should have received your 2019 Real Estate TRIM Notice in the mail recently. The TRIM (Truth in Millage) notice is sent by state law so that property owners are informed about their proposed property taxes for the next year. If you haven’t looked at it closely, this would be a good time to do so because the budgets are coming up for votes in the next few weeks.

Locally, most taxing entities have held the line or even decreased their millage rates, but the City of Gainesville has proposed a nominal 11% increase (from 4.7474 to 5.2974 mills), which is really a 15.64% increase to the “rolled-back” rate (the rate that would produce the same amount of money as last year, given the current property values, 4.5810 mills). On top of that, the city is proposing a 31.68% increase in the Fire Assessment Fee  (from $101 to $133 per unit) and a 6.4% electric rate increase.

To see how this works out on a specific property, let’s look at a non-homesteaded townhouse in the city of Gainesville. Its taxable value was $61,640 in 2018 and is $64,102 for 2019, a 3.99% increase. Last year, the city tax (on the “Municipality” line of the TRIM notice) was $291.78. This year, if the millage increase passes, it will be $339.57. If the city rolled back the rate, it would be $293.65. 

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In case it’s been a while since you’ve computed percentage increases, let’s do the math:

(339.57-291.78) / 291.78  = .1638  = 16.38% increase   

Now turn over the notice and look at the Fire Assessment Fee. The townhouse counts as 0.5163 units, so last year this property paid $101 x 0.5163 = $52.15. This year’s assessment is $68.67, an increase of $16.52.

The total city taxes for 2019 are the sum of the millage and the Fire Assessment Fee, $408.24. The total for 2018 was $343.93.

                     (408.24-343.93) / 343.93  = .1870 = 18.7% increase

Overall, the owner of this property will be paying 18.7% more to the city than last year. The commissioners like to emphasize that this isn’t a lot of money ($64.31/year or $5.36/month in this case, on a home that is significantly less than the Gainesville median price of around $182k), but keep in mind that this now becomes the base rate; unless a future commission votes to decrease the millage, the property owner will keep paying this, year after year, and any future increases will be on top of this. 

Looking at the rest of the taxes on the notice, there is a maximum 4.3% increase in county taxes, although the county commission is still talking about reducing their millage rate. The school board taxes went down, and the Water Management District tax went down. Library taxes went up by 0.25%. The city commission is the only local taxing authority that is raising rates this much.

The city commission will be voting on these proposed increases at a special meeting on September 12 at 6:00 pm. If you want to provide input to the commission, you can email them at citycomm@cityofgainesville.org (keep in mind that all emails are public records), call them at 352-334-5016, or attend the meeting. The final vote on the budget will be held during a meeting on September 26. 

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