Longboat Key, Florida | August 22nd, 2017 – Quite often, sellers of Longboat Key residential properties in talking with buyers would have some complicated explaining to do when it comes to taxation on the island’s residences and its impact on property values in the town.
The root cause of this is the oddity of Longboat being split in jurisdiction between Sarasota and Manatee counties. How this happened traces back to the 1921 demarcation of the boundary line between these two counties. On the mainland, the boundary was set roughly along the current University Parkway extending straight west from where this road corridor meets U.S. 301 east of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
North/South Town Demarcation Line
Farther west across Sarasota Bay, this demarcation line crosses Longboat just north of Bayfront Park, in effect dividing the town in half between Manatee and Sarasota. Properties south of this line fell under Sarasota’s tax and services area while those in the northern part became Manatee territory.
This north/south division of Longboat Key was a non-issue during the 1920s when the town has yet to be incorporated and still has very few residents. Now, however, that Longboat Key and both Manatee and Sarasota have grown and changed, the town’s jurisdictional split has many complications and ripple effects.
Different Appraisers, Millage Rates
The town, for instance, has to work with property appraisers in both Manatee and Sarasota. Longboat too has two variations of tourist tax as well as two property tax rates which are quite different from each other.
Manatee County, for example, has a millage rate of about 6.4, which is nearly double that of Sarasota’s. This rate difference causes large disparities in the taxes paid by owners of properties on different ends of the town.
Lower Tax Bite in Sarasota Side
If you own, for instance, a residence valued at $500,000 south of Bayfront Park, you’d be paying Sarasota County about $1,600 in property taxes, in addition to $1,000 paid to the town. On the other hand, the owner of a similar $500,000 house just a short distance north on the Manatee side would have to pay the county about $3,100 in property taxes because of its higher millage rate.
Besides this disparity in property taxes, the appraisals of property values for each half of Longboat Key can differ. One half of the town could be affected more or less positively or negatively by the same local developments, one town official observed. Recent figures bear this observation out.
Since 2016 town officials estimated that there was a 3.67 percent increase in property values in the Sarasota County side of the town. In the Manatee County portion, their estimate was an 8.93 percent gain for the same period.
One-county Jurisdiction Pushed
Because of the tax inequities resulting from Longboat Key split between Sarasota and Manatee, a move has again been initiated to have the town under just one county. Three other similar campaigns have been launched before, the latest of which was in the 1980s.
Whether this latest effort will gain traction remains to be seen, as the Town Commission has yet to come up with a formal plan on how to approach the unification of Longboat under one county. Should this initiative progress, our Judy Kepecz-Hays Team shall surely provide clients with the information vital to either selling or buying a Longboat property.
In the meantime, sellers or buyers of Longboat Key real estate can rely on our vast experience in this market. We can walk our clients through every step of the buying or selling process, the tax complexities included. Be sure to call us if you want to sell or buy a residence in Sarasota and her Islands.