Proposed homestead exemption increase panned

Proposed homestead exemption increase panned

Treasure Coast government officials met in Fort Pierce Monday to voice their concern over a proposal in the Florida Legislature to increase the homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000.

"We'll be impacting our parks, our beaches," said Martin County Administrator Taryn Kryzda.

"This is a trying time and we are in zero position to cut or dollars to fund our deputies," said Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar.

"This assault on local governments is bad for our citizens and bad for our businesses," added St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery.

According to St. Lucie County Administrator Howard Tipton, a homeowner in his county with a $180 thousand home, would save $40.

"That's not a lot of money but the impact to us, over $8.2 million to us, are huge." said Tipton.

Right now, a new library in Port St. Lucie is set to open later this year off Rosser Boulevard in the old police substation.  The concern is once this project is complete, they won't have the money to open it.

In Indian River County, a new fire station will open this fall serving the growing western part of the county with a number of assisted living facilities.

"It takes 17 folks to staff that station and cost $2 million to operate," said Indian River County Administrator Jason Brown, who added that his county cut 27-percent of its workforce during the economic downturn in 2008.

Local lawmakers signed off on a letter that was sent to the Senate leadership before Monday's vote, calling this not a tax cut, but a tax shift.

Martin County could lose $8 million annually if the tax cut is passed by voters in 2018.  Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson and Sebastian Mayor Bob McPartlan say their cities stand to lose about $350 thousand each annually.

Scripps Only Content 2017