Martin County Property Appraiser Error Stings Taxpayers for $500,000

Martin County commissioners voted Tuesday to repay the city of Stuart more than $500,000 in the next two budget years because an error that went unnoticed for more than a decade in the property appraiser’s office resulted in unpaid property taxes. And those tax dollars were lost specifically to the city’s Community Redevelopment Areas (CRAs).

In fact, millions of dollars were lost to CRAs in the county, too.

According to a Florida statute, the county is obligated to repay the city some four years of owed taxes, totaling $1,071,645. But the bill was offset when Martin Property Appraiser Laurel Kelly discovered the city of Stuart owes the county $539,233 in gas utility taxes.

Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers quotes Kelly as explaining, “When the error was discovered, we ... (conducted) extensive, detailed analysis. We’ve added procedures to prevent this from happening again.”

According to STCN, the county will handle the debt by crediting the city the $130,703 gas utility taxes it would have paid this year, and throw in an extra $201,708 from the county reserves.

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