Governor Crist Signs Bill Adding New Protection for Taxpayers
June 17, 2009
GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE
~ Allowing New Use of Technology in Property Assessment ~
JACKSONVILLE – Governor Charlie Crist today signed House Bill 179, relating to property appraisers, at the Property Appraiser's Office in Duval County. The bill streamlines the late filing homestead exemption process and encourages property appraisers to increase the use of technology for property inspection. Senator Carey Baker and Representative Bryan Nelson sponsored this legislation. Jim Overton, Duval County property appraiser and president of the Florida Association of Property Appraisers, joined Governor Crist for the signing ceremony.
"Today I am pleased to sign legislation that guarantees an added protection for the taxpayers, as well as allowing property appraisers to take advantage of cost saving technologies," said Governor Crist. "Nothing is of greater importance than making government more efficient for the people of Florida."
The legislation gives an added protection for taxpayers who late file their homestead exemption. Taxpayers who miss the homestead exemption filing deadline of March 1st still have an opportunity to submit their application. Taxpayers can submit an application to the property appraiser up to 25 days following the mailing of the "Truth in Millage" (TRIM) notice, without paying the previously required $15 nonrefundable fee. An exemption may be granted by property appraisers if applicants can demonstrate that extenuating circumstances prevented a timely filing.
Representative Nelson added, "By utilizing technology, the state of Florida will be able to save $10 million in taxpayer dollars each year and preserve our precious environment by taking vehicles off the road."
This protection also benefits the Value Adjustment Board. Since late filers no longer have to petition the board, its workload will potentially see a reduction, thus saving time and taxpayer dollars. Additionally, this bill also authorizes property appraisers to make assessments using image technology in lieu of a physical inspection. This change will increase efficiency in the inspection process, as well as save costs in fuel, field personnel and other necessary equipment.
Jim Overton remarked, "We estimate that using imagery instead of physically visiting every property may save us 25 percent to 50 percent of our field inspection costs. We are constantly trying to do more with less, and this legislation gives us a powerful tool."
Also alongside the Governor during the signing ceremony were several Florida property appraisers including Bill Donegan of Orange County, Roger Suggs of Clay County and Ken Wilkinson of Lee County.