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Towns In Tax Trauma

June 2, 2009

Palm Beach Post

27 April 09

By JENNIFER SORENTRUE and DON JORDAN

Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

Palm Beach County’s cities and towns will face a tough choice this summer – hit taxpayers with steep tax hikes or cut services even more sharply than they had expected.

In what is likely the worst drop since the Great Depression, taxable property values throughout the county plummeted nearly 12 percent in the past year, Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits said this afternoon.

And more than a dozen cities fared even worse than the countywide average. Greenacres saw the sharpest drop: Its tax base plunged by 21.4 percent, according to estimates from Nikolits’ office.

Royal Palm Beach, Wellington and Boynton Beach also saw steep declines exceeding 16 percent.

The values determine how much property tax revenue that local governments can expect to receive in the next budget year. To close the shortfall, many governments will have to make brutal cuts in services or hit homeowners with tax increases.

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