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In another year of strong real estate growth, Key Biscayne’s property tax base rose to $10.7 billion, according to an estimate published Friday by Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia. The 7.2% increase in “taxable value” is an official calculation that sets the stage for budget planners across the County and its municipalities. 

“For the third consecutive year, we are seeing record value growth in Miami-Dade County,” Garcia said in a statement. 

The increase in the island’s value was put at $721 million, moving Key Biscayne over the ten billion mark for the first time. Garcia estimated $3 million came from new construction. Last year, the Key Biscayne increase was 9.7%

The Countywide increase — 10% — was higher than Key Biscayne’s. Other cities posting big changes in property values were Florida City (17.6%), the City of Miami (12%), Miami Shores (12%), and Pincecrest (11.4%). 

But Garcia also commented that the increasing values have a downside. “The continued increase in market values is making home ownership difficult, if not impossible, for our average residents.” He urged County and municipal leaders to reduce tax rates to offset the increase in values. 

Village Manager Steve Williamson is in the process of putting together the 2024 budget. The first step is setting what is known as the “trim” rate, a placeholder tax rate that typically is then reduced as the budget comes into focus in the fall. 

Residential owners who have “homesteaded” properties have their taxable values capped at 3% under the Save Our Homes provision of the Florida Constitution.

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Last year’s Key Biscayne budget was $41.2 million, but a combination of higher revenues and lower-than-expected costs resulted in a $6 million surplus. Some of the funds were allocated to projects earlier this month — but the Village Council decided to put the remainder into stormwater projects expected in the 2024 budget. 

Still, the large increase in the tax base is sure to reignite the annual debate on the island’s property tax rate. Last year, Key Biscayne had the lowest property tax rate of any municipality in Miami-Dade County, with a millage rate of 3.1245. Taxes, however, went up about 8.8%, on average, mostly because of last year’s surge in property values. 

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Editor-in-Chief

Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow...