According to preliminary figures from Pasco Property Appraiser Mike Wells, the county’s total property value grew last year. The increase was $727 million, or 4 percent over the year prior. About half of the increase, $367 million, can be attributed to new construction, much of it in Central Pasco. Wells calls this “not bad,” because “when things were really cooking here” that yearly construction figure was around %1 billion. Given what happen when the fire burned out after the 2008 real estate and housing collapse, it probably is a good thing to take a slow-but steady approach. So perhaps the even better news is the contribution that the increase in value of existing property, which was hammered post-2008, appears to have stabilized and is heading upward. The county’s property value is important, of course, because it is the basis of a fair amount of the revenue county government and the school district and Pasco cities derive from property taxes. In West Pasco, New Port Richey and Port Richey will see their tax bases either hold steady or rise slightly, according to Wells. It could be worse, the city of St. Leo is losing more than 70 percent of its property value because the residents of the Lake Jovita community are de-annexing from the city.
Of course rising property values mean more property tax revenue for government to spend. Unwise spending on the local level tends to have less of a destructive impact than money spent at the state or federal level. Nevertheless, moderating spending is another reason slow property value growth is not bad.