Factors Affecting Revenue
Many factors contribute to the amount of revenue that is collected to fund the programs and services that Pinellas County provides. Each of them are influenced by the general health of the economy as evidenced in the housing market, tourism, population and general spending.
Property taxes are the largest source of revenue, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total revenue collected for the General Fund. The health of the real estate market has a huge effect on the budget. Fortunately, Pinellas County has seen an increase in single family home sales for the last seven years. Following statewide and national trends, local home sales increased 16.9 percent from November 2014 to November 2015. The median sales price increased 8.5 percent in 2015, the fourth consecutive year of increases. As a result, the countywide taxable values increased by 3.4 percent in FY14, 6.2 percent in FY15 and 6.4 percent in FY16.
The number of tourists visiting the county is another factor that directly affects the budget in several ways. For instance, the county’s revenue from the local share of the state’s 6-cent sales tax grew by 5.6 percent in FY15, the fifth consecutive year of growth. The 6-percent Tourist Development Tax is collected from rent on temporary lodgings and that revenue is re-invested into enhancing the economy through beach nourishment and tourist promotion. This revenue was 12.2 percent higher in FY15 than in FY14.
Our visitors also contribute more than one-third of the Penny for Pinellas 1-cent sales tax revenue. This source funds capital improvement projects such as facilities, preservation land purchases, roads, bridges, public safety and parks. This funding saves an estimated 1.4 mills ($1 on every $1,000 of taxable property value) on homeowners’ countywide property taxes.