Property Appraiser's Budgetary Funding Process & Relationship to Other Governmental Units
Pursuant to Florida Statute 195.087, on or before June 1 of each year, every property appraiser, regardless of the form of county government, shall submit to the Department of Revenue a budget for the operation of the property appraiser’s office for the ensuing fiscal year beginning October 1. The Property Appraiser's budget is established in accordance with Florida law to ensure adequate resources are available to fund the operations of the office to produce an annual tax roll that meets all the standards of law. Unlike some other constitutional offices, funding for the property appraiser's office is based upon fees for services rendered pursuant to Section 192.091, Florida Statutes.
The table and chart below show the budget history of the Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser's office. Due to the efficient use of new technology as well as other cost-cutting innovations, this office has reallocated two staff positions. We are currently operating with 35 employees which is close to the staffing level of 34 employees in 2001. We continually work to find ways to cut costs without reducing the quality of service taxpayers expect and deserve.
The Property Appraiser allows MSTU notices to be included in the TRIM notices sent out each August under the heading of non-ad valorem assessments saving taxpayers over $50,000 every year. Over the past 20 years, this effort has saved the county approximately $1,000,000.
Net 20 Year (2001 - 2021) Change of $1,698,025 or 71% change or 3.6% per year.
In addition, the Property Appraiser has returned over $4.3 million (6.8% of our total budget) to the Board of County Commissioners in unused funds over this same 20 year period.
The Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser is an elected Constitutional Officer, who serves the people of Santa Rosa County. The constitutional office of property appraiser retains a clear and distinct separation from the county government. The Property Appraiser's office is not a County department under the Board of County Commissioners and receives oversight and annual approval for both the assessment of property and the budget exclusively from the Florida Department of Revenue. There are many reasons for this, the most obvious one relates to the checks and balances provided by the independence of an elected property appraiser. No entity which sets property tax millage rates should control, in any fashion, the process which sets the assessed value of
property for tax purposes. The property appraiser serves all taxing authorities; the county commission, school board, cities, special districts, multi-county authorities, and is therefore not controlled by any one of them. The framers of the current system were extremely careful to create these checks and balances so those who set tax rates have NO control over the entity which sets property values. In other words, "the fox cannot guard the hen house."
Under state agency oversight and audits, the property appraiser is not vulnerable to the exercise of undue influence by any governmental authority that relies upon property values for revenue.