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County's taxable value: $7B

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Published:   |   Updated: June 29, 2013 at 01:12 PM

BROOKSVILLE - Hernando County property values released Friday are better than the good-faith estimates released a month ago.

And, for the most part, they are improved from last year.

The property appraiser's office places the countywide taxable value at $7 billion, compared to $6.9 billion last year.

Brooksville's value was $371 million, down from last year's $373 million but better than good-faith estimates.

The school district taxable value stood at $7.9 billion, virtually unchanged from last month's estimate and slightly higher than last year.

Assistant County Administrator of Budget and Business Development George Zoettlein said he will now calculate his balance forward cash and see how much the county is either short or over and that will dictate what the millage rate should be to balance the budget.

These latest certified figures from the appraiser's office released Friday show Hernando County will collect about $1 million less in general fund revenue heading into next year, compared with the $1.7 million estimated last month.

"We picked up a little more money now that we've got the final figures," Zoettlein said. "But that is only one piece."

Zoettlein said commissioners must still deal with some $1.5 million loss of grant money to fund libraries. They also must deal with the submittal of higher budgets from four of the five elected constitutional officers.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis, who heads up the largest of the five constitutional offices, submitted a budget of $39.9 million, or some $1.2 million more than his current budget.

County commissioners have until Sept. 24 to adopt a final millage rate and budget.

The decrease in taxable value was not as precipitous as previous years when drops ranged from a low of 6.1 percent in 2011 to 12 percent in 2010.

Property Appraiser John Emerson said the data is positive, especially if new construction picks up.

"I think we're turning the corner in the real estate market," he said.

Emerson said rising property values translates to rising tax bills unless the millage rate is adjusted accordingly.

County Commissioner Jim Adkins said he is encouraged by the certified taxable values and believes it is a sign of an improving economy.

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