In the main courtroom of the historic 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse, whose first tenant a century ago was Palm Beach County’s “tax assessor,” that post’s ninth incarnation was sworn in Tuesday.
With a big smile, and with her family looking on from the old jury box, new Palm Beach County Property Appraiser — that’s the title now — Dorothy Jacks took the oath of office from a woman whose children she’d baby-sat as a 13-year-old in Palm Beach Gardens: retired Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Mary Lupo.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say that was very emotional,” said Jacks, whose voice then faltered with emotion as she said, “there is really nothing better in life than a dream come true.”
Dorothy Jacks, longtime chief deputy to Nikolits, is set to be sworn in Tuesday at the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse.
Nikolits was elected to the post in 1992 and reelected five times since. He announced in May 2015 that he would not seek a sixth term. Jacks, who’d worked in the office for 28 years and been chief deputy since 2012, filed to succeed him.
As of the Sept. 16, deadline, the appraiser’s office said, 4,266 parcels petitioned to the county’s Value Adjustment Board. That’s 0.6 percent of the 635,000 parcels and 58,750 tangible personal property accounts.
In 2015, owners of 5,197 properties submitted appeals; of those, the board granted 259.
The board can agree to accept petitions after the deadline, under certain circumstances.
For more, call the property appraiser at 561-355-3230 or the VAB at 561-355-6289.
When Palm Beach County Commissioners convened this morning as the governing board of the Solid Waste Authority, it was the first of many proceedings this fall in which the 7-member panel contains two lame ducks.
Commissioner Shelley Vana already was on her way out
because of term limits. But 3-term commissioner Priscilla Taylor fell in Tuesday’s election t0 former Delray Beach city commissioner and former state representative Mack Bernard.
As of press time Tuesday night, Bernard had clung to a lead of less than 3 percentage points. In the final overnight tally, which still doesn’t include the small number of provisional ballots, that lead held:
Mack Bernard 41.96% 7,413
Priscilla Ann Taylor 39.02% 6,894
Lawrence Gordon 13.66% 2,414
Robbie T. Littles 5.35% 946
For Vana and Taylor, at least for now, years and years of elected office come to a screeching halt; 17 for Taylor and 14 for Vana, who was soundly beaten Tuesday night by longtime Deputy Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks in the race to replace Jacks’ boss, the retiring Gary Nikolits.
At Wednesday morning’s Solid Waste Authority meeting, chair Hal Valeche acknowledge the “bad day” Taylor and Vana had on Tuesday. He said he’ll miss them and thanked them for their service and directed a round of applause.
The state many years ago required entities to show the rollback rate, the rate at which the average homeowner would pay the same amount as last year if the entity’s budget was exactly the same as last year.
In the box score issued Monday, the appraiser broke out for each entity two numbers. The one in blue is “equal to the rollback,” meaning no tax increase on the average property covered by that entity. The number in green, “below rollback,” means that, if the proposed rate passes, you’ll actually pay less in taxes, even though your property’s value might have stayed the same or gone up.
“This is the fourth year in a row the market has improved,” Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits said in a release.
The figures inch the county closer to its historic high of $169.5 billion, set in 2007, before the recession sent it plummeting to a 10-year low of $124.4 billion three years later. Since 2012, the market value of real property in the county has jumped 46 percent, Wednesday’s release said.
Values are set as of Jan. 1 and give cities and other taxing entities guidance as they assemble their budgets, and potential tax rates, for approval at the end of September.
Total property values in Palm Beach County are estimated to have risen 7.85 percent from 2015 to 2016, the county property appraiser said Friday.
That number is higher than the initial estimate, issued in late April, of a 6.6 percent increase. And the new estimate places the county at $164.5 billion, near its all-time high, reached in 2007 at the height of the boom.
The property appraiser’s April 29 estimate was that countywide taxable value grew from $152.6 billion on the first day of 2015 to $162.6 billion on the first day of 2016.
It hit a historic high of $169.5 billion in 2007 before falling to a 10-year low of $124.4 billion three years later as a result of the 2008 housing market crash and recession.
Taxable property value is based on real and tangible property values as of Jan. 1 each year. The county, its municipalities and other taxing authorities use estimates to project how much money they can expect to receive from property taxes in the coming year and to set their tax rates and budgets.
The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office will award $1,000 each in scholarship money Thursday afternoon to five college-bound students from the count. Since 1994, the office has awarded $125,000, raising the money through its “Friday Casual Dress Day.”
An applicant must be graduating from a public, private or home school in Palm Beach County and be a county resident, and must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 GPA and be set to attend an accredited college or junior college in the fall. This year, 115 people applied.