Published: Aug 21, 2010 5:00 AM EDT
Updated: Aug 21, 2010 2:00 AM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Property owners in Lee County can now get an idea of how much they'll pay in property taxes. Friday, these TRIM notices,  or "Truth in Millage" notices were put in the mail.

If you can't wait, you can also check them online at Mike Nicholas of Cape Coral took a break from trimming the grass to check out his trim notice. "$60 more," He read, "I don't like it."

His tax rate may go up, while his property value will drop nearly $7,000. But is it really a bad thing? According to real estate expert Marc Joseph, even if your tax rate goes up, you could still spend less.

"If you are a primary occupant or you're living in your home and not planning on moving in the next few years, this is something we all need," Joseph said. "This is a benefit of living here."

While the drop in property values slowed this year, county values are still down nearly $30 billion since 2008. So what do all these numbers actually mean? Column one is what you paid last year.
If there are no budget changes this year, you will most likely owe what is written in column two. Column three is your tax bill, if changes are made to the budget.
"Yes, it is a little scary to see a $600 difference, but you need to understand if your assessed value came down $50,000, you should not be so worried about that $600 because you saved that when your value came down," Joseph said.

One thing Joseph says you should pay attention to is exemptions. 
There are several - from "Widower" to "Disability" - so make sure you get yours.

What if you don' t agree with what you see on your trim notice? Call the Property Appraiser's office. If there's a mistake, they may be able to fix it. But if you're still not happy, you can file a petition now through Sept. 14.