MILTON — Santa Rosa County ranks seventh in Florida for its return on investment of property taxes, according to financial technology company SmartAsset’s fourth annual study. The county is up one spot from last year.
The study analyzed property tax rates, quality of local schools and local crime rates to determine an overall value of the tax dollar. However, the study does not take into consideration other aspects funded by property taxes including infrastructure.
“I am excited about the improvements we are making to our infrastructure this year, especially considering that the millage rate hasn’t been raised in over 18 years,” Commissioner Sam Parker said.
According to a recent economic development report and strategic plan compiled by Atlanta-based consulting firm Garner Economics LLC, Santa Rosa County has an excellent quality of life, good schools, low crime and an affordable cost of living. However, the county’s aging infrastructure and public transportation are a concern of residents.
Santa Rosa County has not increased its property tax rates in 27 years — and dropped them twice, once in 2001 and again in 2008, according to the county’s 2017 budget. The county also maintains one of the state’s lowest millage rates at 6.0953.
The SmartAsset study determined the county’s property tax rate is 0.76 percent. It combined the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate — which, ranking the county by tax rate alone, is 12th in the state — to arrive at this value.
The SmartAsset school ranking is based on average math and language arts test scores comparative to the average property tax for the county. Within each state, these schools were ranked between 1 and 10 based on those average scores. The report scored Santa Rosa at 10.
“The report demonstrates our board works diligently to keep property taxes low yet provide the highest quality of education for our students,” Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick said. “Santa Rosa District Schools is successful because of quality parents, educators and community members working together to develop quality programs with high accountability. Our parents can rest assured we are using their tax dollars wisely and with great efficiency.”
The study ranks Santa Rosa eighth for crime based on the number of violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents. In this case, that’s 1,429 for the county — the same as last year.