The status of the law suits remain pretty much the same as reported in the last newsletter. We wait for a response from the First District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court. It is worth noting that 2 attorneys have filed notice with the Supreme Court for Amicus Curiae, “Friend of the Court”. This can be done by someone who is not a party to the case but believes the court’s decision may affect its interests. In both cases, they are offering information to assist the Court in reversing the decision to tax the land on Navarre Beach. You can follow this link and insert case number 1445 to see docket information on the Navarre Beach land case
Escambia County Property Appraiser, Chris Jones, sent out the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes in August. Almost everyone noticed the increase in taxes, but it took extra effort to determine the assessed value of the land that accounted for the increase in taxes. This is the first time the leased land is being taxes as ad valorem property. Suffice it to say that this Notice was less than user friendly. You can see a clear breakdown of the assessed value of improvements and land by doing a property search on the Property Appraiser’s web site. Use the following link and insert any number of the search criteria available on your Notice (name, address, etc.)
The Notice of Proposed Property Taxes provides an opportunity to question the accuracy of the value and to check that appropriate reductions and exemptions have been applied. If you can not resolve differences with the Property Appraiser’s Office, you can file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (deadline of September 2, 2011). In order to contest the legality of taxing the land, a complaint must be filed in the Circuit Court within 60 days of the tax roll being certified. That deadline usually falls around mid-December.
PBA President, Jim Cox, convened an August 23rd meeting of representatives who worked with the attorneys on the residential, commercial and Portofino law suits concerning improvements. Attorneys Danny Kepner and Ed Fleming updated the group on the status of the ongoing cases and discussed options for challenging taxation of the land. A lot depends on whether or not the Florida Supreme Court agrees to consider the Navarre Beach case. If they do not agree to take the case, our options are limited (but not gone) to successfully challenge the land tax on Pensacola Beach. A follow-up meeting of this group is scheduled for mid-September. PBA will keep you informed on this important issue.
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