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East County Tuesday, Jul. 3, 2018 3 years ago

East County shift continues in Manatee County

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New home construction calls for more services in eastern Manatee County.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Manatee County officials say new tax roll data supports the county’s efforts to add government services in the greater Lakewood Ranch area.

The Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office released new tax roll data June 29 that shows new construction in the East Manatee Fire Rescue District, comprising the greater Lakewood Ranch area, increased by 11.8%, or about $552.8 million in new taxable value compared with the prior year. Countywide, values for new construction are up an average of 3.56% from last year.

Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office Chief Deputy Mark Johns said the county added almost 3,200 condominium units and single-family homes to the tax rolls in 2017, with more than half of those in the East County area. (That equates to $987.1 million in new construction countywide and $552.8 million in the greater Lakewood Ranch area.)

Sparking the growth was Lakewood Ranch, which was the nation’s third best-selling, master-planned community in 2017 as reported by the real estate consulting firms of RCLCO and John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Lakewood Ranch had 1,206 new home sales in 2017, an increase of 56% over 2016.

Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said the data prove the need to add government services in the eastern portion of the county is real.

“It’s a call for us to provide better service to where the population is moving,” Hunzeker said. “That’s why we’re embarking upon this expansion of our Premier (Sports Campus) acquisition to provide services where the increase in population is. The population increase is naturally going east of the interstate. That is the center part of the county — the geographic center.”

Manatee County in December 2017 purchased Premier Sports Campus and 36 additional acres for a future aquatics center for $5.2 million from Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch. It also has purchased an additional 70 acres north of Premier to use as a government services hub, likely with a Sheriff’s Office, a satellite Tax Collector’s office and a government building used for issuing permits and addressing other county business.

Manatee County commissioners are working on the 2019 fiscal year budget and will set the maximum millage rate July 31.

Even without a rise in the millage rate, residents can expect an increase in their property taxes from increase valuation.

In the county as a whole, Johns said average value increases for existing homes has hovered around 5% for the past three years, and rates for new construction also has stabilized.

“The takeaway is the growth is continuing. However, it appears the pace of growth is slowing slightly compared to previous years,” Johns said. “The values of existing homes has basically stabilized. New construction has stayed pretty consistent to what it has been.”

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