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Dr. Sean Snaith said a recovery in property values will lag two years behind other economic recovery indicators.
Sarasota Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 6 years ago

County to ignore state economic forecasts

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Concerned with an optimistic outlook on the states economic recovery, the county is adopting its own more conservative recovery estimates to project future revenues.

"It's misleading for us to publish anything based on those numbers," said Dave bullock, deputy county administrator. "Our best guess is going to be better than the state's."

State economic projections from December predict a 3.3% decline in property values next year. Just six months earlier, those same forecasters had expected an increase of about 1%.

Accurate projections are important to the county because it plans its budgets as far ahead as six years. The state is projecting a jump from -3.3% next year to 4.1% in 2013.

"Is there anyone in this room who believes were going to see 7% growth from 2012-2013?” Bullock asked county commissioners and other county officials gathered today for a budget workshop. "It's not even in the realm of possibility."

Instead, Bullock is suggesting more modest increases of 1% each year.

Commissioner Joe Barbetta said he is more optimistic than that, however, and is afraid of the message that sends to the public.

"We send a tough message and people say, 'That's a sinking ship,' and not come here."

The rest of the commission agreed that they expect faster growth but thought it was wiser to maintain a more conservative approach for planning purposes.

"It's hard to fault someone for taking a conservative outlook," said Commissioner Jon Thaxton. "If (the economy) doesn't recover and we use (higher projections), we're toast."

The commission heard from UCF economics professor Dr. Sean Snaith, a nationally known economic forecaster, and he said he's seen some positive signs of recovery in Florida.

"I think this year we will see an acceleration or job growth," he said. "But it will be 2012 or 2013 before we'll really see signs of (an overall economic) recovery. This is a cyclical downturn. It's a heck of one. But it is a cycle."

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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