|Escambia County is holding $9.8 Million Dollars in escrowed tax proceeds from Beach Leaseholders--and will return this money to taxpayers if the recent ruling from the DCA stands|
Some Pensacola Beach Condominium owners were happy with last week's decision from the 1st District Court of Appeals--because the decision sided with their cause; they will not have to pay ad valorem taxes on the property they lease--only on the improvements made to the leased land--if this decision stands.
The story was covered extensively by the local media.
News outlets have also reported, and I have confirmed with reliable sources, that this decision will be appealed by the property appraiser.
But what are the economic consequences for the BCC's budget if the beach tax decision stands for Escambia County (Pensacola Beach) lease holders?
I have asked the question of staff and have been told that we (Escambia BCC) have escrowed the funds that were subject to this decision for the last five tax years, 2011-2016, in the event that the monies collected have to be returned to these lease holders.
Currently, the county holds roughly $9.8 Million dollars in reserves for repayment of these tax remittances--if the court upholds the DCA ruling and we are ordered to refund the monies collected.
Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact financial impact the decision would have if it stands--I am told that it would be safe to estimate the reduction in tax collections for the county going forward to be between $1.2-$2.2 Million dollars yearly.....
But everything remains in limbo for the time being and until such time as all the appeals are settled. And we will keep escrowing these funds as we collect them-- in the event that we have to return them at some point down the line.