LEE COUNTY, Fla.- It appears the recovery really is here. Real estate values are rising across Lee County, and that could mean more dollars in property taxes for local governments.
"I think the cities will be able to breathe a little easier now. If they were thinking about cutting, maybe they can cut less. That's the bottom line for the cities," said Ken Wilkinson, Lee property appraiser.
"It shows we are recovering from the recession, we are bouncing back," he added.
The numbers show an increase of nearly 4 percent in all property values countywide. The taxable property went up in value by 2 percent in Lee.
Cape Coral shows the biggest increase, 9 percent for all property, up 5.6 percent for taxable real estate.
Fort Myers city values went up by about 3 percent; Bonita Springs, about 2.
"Any increase is good, but to go up a few percent is not going to make a big difference. We have to remember, we lost about 50 percent of our property value over the past 5 years. So it is going to take a long time to get back to equal footing, with where we were before the recession. We still have some very tough budget issues to deal with," said Lee commissioner Frank Mann.
Wilkinson notes, the numbers are preliminary and could be fine-tuned over the next 30 days. His office has to submit the final numbers by July 1. Local governments then put together their budgets in late summer, budgets that take effect Oct. 1.
Wilkinson says the value of all property in Lee totals about $71 and a quarter billion. It was well over $100 billion, before the recession.