By Dale Martin
City Manager
Fernandina Beach
June 10, 2021

City Manager Dale Martin

I concluded my introductory budget article last week with an effort to differentiate between the Market Value of a property and the Assessed Value of a property, both of which are determined by the Nassau County Property Appraiser, Mr. Michael Hickox. Mr. Hickox provided a more detailed insight into property values in a subsequent article, highlighting the soaring property values. I recommend Mr. Hickox’ article as a property value primer.

As previously indicated last week, the Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice that every property owner receives has, in addition to the Market Value and Assessed Value, a third value: Taxable Value. The Taxable Value of each property is calculated by subtracting the Exemptions allowed for the subject property from the Assessed Value of the property. I’ll continue to use my residence (2404 Los Robles) as an example. To review your own property, please visit the Nassau County Property Appraiser’s website [click here for last year’s TRIM Notice and place your last name in the “name block”], specifically the GIS Map pages.

The Market Value of 2404 Los Robles is shown for 2020 to be $344,277, slightly above the 2019 Market Value of $336,809. Again, that value is determined by the Property Appraiser based upon a variety of factors on a regional scale, not on an individual property analysis. The increase or decrease to the Market Value of a property is unconstrained.

The Assessed Value of my property is less: the 2020 value is shown as $309,086. The difference between the Market Value and the Assessed Value is illustrated on the TRIM Notice in a bottom left-hand box on a line that reads “Save Our Homes.” If a property is used as a primary residence by its owner (“Homestead”; as is my case), the Save Our Homes provision of the Florida Constitution limits the increase of the Assessed Value of the property to the rate of inflation or three percent, whichever is less. In the case of my property, the Save Our Homes provision has reduced the Assessed Value by $35,191.

My property qualifies for two exemptions. The specific exemptions on qualifying properties are indicated in the lower right-hand corner of the TRIM Notice. My two exemptions are related to the “Homestead” status of my property. Each property, if homesteaded, receives a First Homestead exemption of $25,000 for the first $50,000 of Assessed Value (that exemption is proportionately reduced for properties with an Assessed Value of less than $50,000). The Additional Homestead (another $25,000) indicated is applied to homesteaded properties with an Assessed Value between $50,000 and $100,000, and again, proportionally reduced for properties with an Assessed Value between $50,000 and $100,000. It should also be noted that the Additional Homestead is not applicable for School District taxes. Additional specific exemptions are available due to other personal circumstances, and I again encourage you to visit the Property Appraiser’s website to learn more about those exemptions.

With my Assessed Value of $309,086, the qualifying exemptions ($50,000) are subtracted to determine the property’s Taxable Value, $259,086 ($284,086 for School District taxes). By now knowing the Taxable Value, the actual taxes to be levied on the property can be determined by multiplying the taxing authorities’ Tax Rate by the Taxable Value.

All applicable Taxing Authorities are indicated in the leftmost column of the TRIM Notice. For my property (as is the case with every other property WITHIN the Fernandina Beach city limits), the Taxing Authorities are Nassau County; the School Board (shown as both State and Local); Fernandina Beach; Amelia Island MSTU (Municipal Services Taxing Unit; a special purpose tax levied by Nassau County to provide funding for beach renourishment purposes); St. Johns Water Management District; Florida Inland Navigation District; Amelia Island Mosquito Control; and Fernandina Beach Voter Approved Debt. If your TRIM Notice does not include the two lines associated with Fernandina Beach, you are not a resident of Fernandina Beach, despite perhaps having a Fernandina Beach mailing address (a frequent misconception).

The TRIM Notice, in the adjacent three columns (so named Column 1, Column 2, and Column 3), illustrate various millage, or tax, rates, for each taxing authority. Column 1 indicates the tax rates and associated tax for the previous year. Column 2 indicates the tax rate based upon “if no budget change is adopted.” Column 3 illustrates the impact of the maximum millage rate based upon preliminary actions of each taxing authorities’ governing board. By comparing Column 2 and Column 3, a likely range of the property taxes levied on each property can be determined.

I will continue this property tax and budget discussion next week.

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