Owners of property in Martin County receive a real estate tax bill. When we examine the bills we receive, we care most about the total amount we are obligated to pay. The bill itself has many different lines that distinguish the component amounts that create the total tax for each property. This article will explain those different lines that are enumerated on your current property tax bill.
Every tax bill, regardless of where you live within Martin County, has the County’s General Fund line. The millage rate is currently 6.5971. The tax collected in the General Fund goes to pay the operating budget for that portion of government such as the Sheriff, Administration, and Commission. These are governmental functions that service the entire County whether you live in Hobe Sound, Stuart, or Jensen Beach.
In addition, unincorporated Martin County has what are known as Municipal Service Taxing Units (MSTU). There is one for Fire/Rescue at 2.6319 mills, the second is Parks & Recreation at .1615 mills, and the third Stormwater & Roads with a .2935 millage rate. The reason they are only charged in the unincorporated areas is because incorporated cities, such as Stuart, provide those services within their boundaries and those properties are charged for those functions through the municipality.
Further, there can be a Commission District millage rate. The amounts that are raised in the District through that tax are used at the discretion of the Commissioner within those districts. Municipalities that are within a Commissioner’s District are not included in these taxing districts. The tax only is applied to the unincorporated areas. Therefore, those discretionary funds cannot be spent within the municipality’s borders. Currently, Commission Districts 1, 3, and 5 have this discretionary millage.
There are 4 millage rates for the Martin County School District. School districts in Florida must set their rates for their General and Capital Funds according to what rate is prescribed by Tallahassee. The state also will allow an additional amount, known as a discretionary rate, for the District’s General Fund. Florida will further permit the School District to ask the voters for approval of an additional half mill. Last year, Martin County voters approved that amount in a referendum for 4 years.
On the 2018 tax bill the School Board rates were the following:
- General Fund: 4.1140
- Discretionary Fund: .7480
- Capital Outlay: 1.500
- Voter Approved: .5000
The School Board further received a ½ cent sales tax increase for capital expenditures in a second voter-approved referendum that is independent of the millage rates and will be collected for a term of 7 years.
If you live within one of the municipalities, there is an additional millage rate which is levied by the municipality’s governing board (e.g., the Stuart Commission). Theoretically, the reason to incorporate is to have additional governmental services not provided by the County. The rates for the municipalities are:
- City of Stuart: 4.75 plus a debt service rate of .2462
- Town of Jupiter Island: combined rate of 3.7621
- Town of Ocean Breeze: 5.475
- Town of Sewall’s Point: 2.87
- Town of Indiantown: 4.2623
The City of Stuart also has a 2-tier fire fee. The fire fee goes to maintaining the Fire/Rescue Department. The minimum paid by every property owner in the City regardless of assessed value is $108.35 per parcel. The second tier is determined by the assessed value of the parcel.
There are other agencies that also tax property: The Children’s Services Council at a rate of .3618, the Florida Inland Navigation District at a rate of .0320, and finally, the South Florida Water Management District at a rate of .2936.
As you can see, your real estate tax bill has many component parts encompassing several taxing districts. In order to give you a better understanding of how much overall tax is paid per area see the charts below. Remember that each mill levied equals $1 on every $1000 of assessed valuation. Your individual tax bills may include exemption amounts on your assessed valuation. Assessed Valuation and exemptions will be discussed in the next article in this series.
(Rate is per Acre)
Pal-Mar Water Control District $22.00
Hobe St. Lucie Unit 1 $75.16
Hobe St. Lucie Unit 2 $75.75
Hobe St. Lucie Unit 3 $78.37
Hobe St. Lucie Unit 4 $123.61
Hobe St. Lucie Unit 5 $5.78
Troup-Indiantown Water Mgmt. Dist. $35.00