Crestview City Council offers no formal position on Amendment 4 (UPDATED)

Amendment 4 Discussion

Cliff Long, of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, right, discusses Amendment 4 with residents prior to Monday’s city council meeting.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 12:50 PM.

CRESTVIEW — A divided city council on Monday didn’t take action on an agenda item that would have made a resolution opposing Amendment 4, an item on next month’s statewide ballot. The Florida League of Cities had requested that local governments pass resolutions opposing the amendment.

Because the amendment would prevent local municipalities from raising the assessed value on residents’ property to maintain a steady tax income, even if the property value has declined since the previous year, real estate agents support the initiative.

Present at the meeting was Cliff Long, an executive with the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, who was prepared to speak against the resolution if it came to a vote. Long said other business groups also support the amendment, which would increase the homestead exemption for first-time homebuyers and reduce assessment limits.

“… We have the local chambers (of commerce) with us, the Florida chamber as well,” Long said. “This whole resolution, the League of Cities is trying to push all the cities to support it.”

City Clerk Betsy Roy, recommending the city council pass the resolution, cited “potential loss of property tax income if the amendment passes.” However, the council — led by Councilwoman Robyn Helt, a real estate agent — was divided on the issue.

“I do not see the need for the city to pass a resolution,” Helt said. “I would not be in favor of supporting a resolution but I am personally in favor of Amendment 4.”

Stating that she could see “the League of Cities’ position concerning the amount of taxes that could be recouped,” Helt said her responsibility was to Crestview’s property tax paying residents.

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