Sarasota News Leader

09/20/2013

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Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 State revenue sharing sales taxes are also trending upward as consumer spending increases. And county Tourist Development Tax dollars have increased 11.1 percent for the first 11 months of 2013. The news on the fiscal horizon is not all rosy for county officials, however. Over the past six years, taxable property values sank 35 percent, and the county saw a nearly $100 million reduction in major revenues. Even with projected property value increases every year out to 2018, the extra money is not enough to negate that 35 percent downswing. Expenses are also expected to continue to rise, and despite the uptick in revenue, the forecasting model predicts a $21 million shortfall in 2018. (See the accompanying General Fund Outlook chart.) Page 50 Property values and other revenue estimates are only projections; they can fluctuate as the still fragile economy slowly rebounds. ADDITIONS TO THE TAX ROLLS A source of more quantifiable increases is forthcoming in the form of several slated new developments. Those projects, as long as they are built, will bring in additional tax revenue, but some of that money will not be seen until 2016. Benderson Development's mega mall, The Mall at University Town Center, is expected to bring in an estimated $350,000 annually in property tax revenue. That additional property tax revenue probably will not come onto the tax rolls until 2016, said Steve Botelho, chief financial planning officer for Sarasota County. Along with the higher ad "The economy is coming back slowly but cer- valorem tax money will come another source tainly not at the pace it went down," said Curt of county income: "As we build new hotels Preisser, public information officer for Sara- and the new mall, sales tax revenue will likely go up," Botelho pointed out. sota County. Vice Chairman Charles Hines and Commissioner Nora Patterson review budget material on Sept. 6. File photo

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