Property Appraiser's Budgetary Funding Process & Relationship to Other Governmental Units
Pursuant to Florida Statute 195.087, on or before June 1 of each year, every property appraiser, regardless of the form of county government, shall submit to the Department of Revenue a budget for the operation of the property appraiser’s office for the ensuing fiscal year beginning October 1.
The Property Appraiser's budget is established in accordance with Florida law to ensure that adequate resources are available to fund the operations of the office to produce an annual tax roll that meets all the standards of law. Unlike some other constitutional offices, funding for the property appraiser's office is based upon fees for services rendered pursuant to Section 192.091, Florida Statutes. This statute provides that the budget of the property appraiser's office, as approved by the Department of Revenue, is the basis upon which various taxing authorities in the county are billed for services rendered. The county commission pays a higher percentage of the budget billing because the school system and the municipalities have been excluded by the legislature from paying their share of the cost, thus forcing the county general fund to provide a much larger share of the annual commissions paid to the Property Appraiser. The County Commission has no control over the Property Appraiser's budget for good reason - read further.
The table and chart below show the budget history of the Orange County Property Appraiser's office. Over the last five years, the Property Appraiser has reduced their budget by $1, 556,336 (-12.58%). Part of that reduction is due to the efficient use of new technology as well as other cost-cutting measures. The number of positions has been reduced by 6 (-4.55%) from staffing levels five years ago. We continually work to find ways to cut costs without reducing the quality of service tax-payers expect and deserve.
The Orange County Property Appraiser is an elected Constitutional Officer, noted as an Executive County officer in the Orange County Charter, who serves the people of Orange County. The constitutional office of property appraiser retains a clear and distinct separation from the county government aside from its inclusion in the county charter. The Property Appraiser's office is not a County department under the Board of County Commissioners and receives oversight and annual approval for both the assessment of property and the budget exclusively from the Florida Department of Revenue.
There are many reasons for this, the most obvious one relates to the checks and balances provided by the independence of an elected property appraiser. No entity which sets property tax millage rates should control, in any fashion, the process which sets the assessed value of property for tax purposes. The property appraiser serves all taxing authorities; the county commission, school board, cities, special districts, multi-county authorities, and is therefore not controlled by any one of them. The framers of the current system were extremely careful to create these checks and balances so those who set tax rates have NO control over the entity which sets property values. In other words, "the fox cannot guard the hen house."
Under state agency oversight and audits, the property appraiser is not vulnerable to the exercise of undue influence by any governmental authority that relies upon property values for revenue.