FORT MYERS, Fla. - Lee County homeowners are learning how much they'll pay in taxes this year. The annual "Truth in Milliage" - or TRIM - notices are arriving in mailboxes across the county. Some homeowners will pay more, while others will pay less.
Ken Wilkinson, Lee County's property appraiser, says a strong year in real estate has pushed many home values up 10% or more.
"It's the first double-digit increase we've had since probably '07," Wilkinson told WINK News.
"Right now, one of the reasons our market is so strong is it's a cash market," he said. "We have more cash sales than any other jurisdiction in the nation."
Although not all homes saw an increase, some saw more than others. WINK News saw a TRIM notice for a home where the value increased by nearly 30 percent.
Of course, a higher value means more to tax. On that fact, Wilkinson often hears from concerned homeowners.
"[The taxpayer has] the opportunity to call us if they perceive there to be a problem with the value," Wilkinson said. "Of course, I've never had a person call me and tell me they think their property value is too low."
Homestead exemptions and the "Save Our Homes" cap - which Wilkinson helped create - limit how much your taxes can increase in a given year.
Homeowner David Higgins received his TRIM notice in the mail this week. A resident of Fort Myers for 44 years, Higgins has seen the housing market through the good times and the bad.
Higgins' TRIM shows his home gained value.
"That's the direction it's going," he said. "I'm surprised it didn't go up more, but I'm also pleased because I don't have more taxes to pay than last year."
Although the Lee County Property Appraiser's office can help you understand your home's value, Wilkinson and his staff are not involved in setting the tax rates, which have yet to be finalized.
There are a total of 91 taxing authorities in Lee County. Most homeowners will fall under seven or eight of them. You will see them listed on your TRIM notice, and will be able to weigh in on the millage rates at future public hearings.