Lee Commission sets tax digest

LEESBURG -- The Lee County Commission took care of some state-mandated housekeeping Thursday afternoon, approving the county's tax digest at a brief called meeting.

After Board of Tax Assessors Chief Appraiser Joe Wright explained the particulars of the digest, the Commission voted to approve the county's adjusted net digest at $870,583,682, a $6.5 million decrease from the 2009 digest.

Smith said most of the decline is attributed to a drop in the value of motor vehicles and timber in the county.

"In economic times like the ones we've been going through, people don't replace their vehicles as frequently and they generally devalue," Wright said. "The decrease in timber is also because of the economy; the value of timber is down dramatically."

The county's digest value of motor vehicles in 2010 is at $85,604,940, a decrease of some $8.6 million from the year before.

Timber values for 2010 -- $764,177 -- dropped sharply from 2009 figures, by a huge $1.3 million.

"I was a little surprised by the totals," Wright said. "Real and personal property values increased this year (by $5.7 million) as they have for the last five years, and I didn't expect the decreases in vehicles and timber to be enough to offset that increase."

Commission Chairman Ed Duffy noted that the millage rate in the unincorporated portion of the county would remain the same, at 12.766 mills. That total, plus the Lee County School System's assessment of 15 mills and a school bond assessment of .4 mills, leaves the county's total millage rate at 28.416 mills.

Wright said resolutions establishing the 2010 tax digest were due at the state Department of Revenue by Aug. 1.