News and Announcements

Property Appraiser contracts with outside firm to audit homestead exemptions

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

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The Citrus County Property Appraiser’s Office has contracted with Tax Management Associates (TMA), to audit all properties with homestead exemption in Citrus County to discover the existence of any potential homestead exemption fraud. The process started last summer when the Property Appraiser began reviewing the possibility of conducting the audit which required approval from the county’s seven taxing authorities. All seven, including the county commission, school board, cities and mosquito control board, have since given their support to proceed. The audit will commence early in 2019.

A homestead exemption, allowed by state law, permits a reduction in property taxes and is available to every Florida resident who owns and resides on real property and makes that property their permanent residence as of January 1 of the year in which the homestead exemption is granted. The homestead exemption allows up to $50,000 of the property’s assessed value to be exempted from taxation. Based on current tax rates, the $50,000 homestead exemption is worth about $600 in county taxes, almost $1,000 in Inverness taxes and $800 in Crystal River.

The cost for persons falsely claiming a homestead exemption is determined by Florida Statute and includes not just payment of back taxes and loss of the Save our Homes benefit but also a 50 percent penalty and 15 percent interest for any year or years within the prior 10 years that they were ineligible.
The Property Appraiser’s first responsibility is to provide fairness for all taxpayers. When a property owner receives an exemption for which they are no longer entitled, it results in a shift of that tax burden to other taxpayers. Based on results in other counties audited by TMA, we believe that a very small number of residents will be affected – the rate of fraud is estimated to be about one percent. The audit will result in a fair tax roll for Citrus County.

The Property Appraiser’s office has always investigated the validity of homestead exemptions returning thousands of dollars each year, but its research is mostly limited to local and Florida state-agency resources. The Property Appraiser chose TMA based on results achieved in other counties and the company’s analytic ability to gather data across state lines. The company also performs their initial analysis without receiving any confidential data of Citrus County taxpayers. The current working tax roll has in excess of 46,000 homes with a homestead exemption. TMA will enable a massive audit of all existing homestead exemptions. The company’s staff will handle all investigative efforts, documentation, and correspondence with residents to identify properties improperly receiving exemptions and then return defensible findings back to the Property Appraiser’s office.

TMA, which is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, will not charge any up-front fees to research whether homestead exemptions are legitimate. Existing taxpayers will not bear any cost for this audit. Instead, the company will receive 30 percent from any back taxes and penalties paid by the property-owners discovered receiving homestead exemptions for which they were not entitled. The remaining 70 percent will go to the taxing authorities. Without discovery of these undeserved homesteads the taxing authority would receive none of these funds.

The company has already performed such audits in four other Florida counties – Brevard, Duval, Pinellas and Sarasota – and has done similar projects in five other states. TMA, through a partnership with Lexis Nexis, is able to crosscheck homeowners with other states to find out if they have exemptions elsewhere or otherwise do not qualify for a homestead exemption.

As a result of the audit, residents may receive a questionnaire from TMA to verify their homestead information. It is important that the questionnaire be returned promptly and that residents please take it seriously. A Homestead Audit Call Center will be available for residents who have any questions on how to fill out the questionnaire.

Additional Homestead Exemption information is available on our website at www.citruspa.org.

Les Cook, CFA
Citrus County Property Appraiser

Salvation Army Cold Weather Shelter to Open

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

The Salvation Army will have their Cold Weather Shelter open Wednesday, January 16, 2019.  The shelter is open 7pm to 7am and is located at The Salvation Army, 712 S. School Avenue, Lecanto, FL 34461. 

Remember, someone seeking cold weather shelter can go to any Citrus County Bus Stop at the last pickup time, and the driver will drop off the person at The Salvation Army at no cost. The person will be picked up at The Salvation Army the following morning and taken back to the same area.

If you have any questions, please contact The Salvation Army directly at 352-513-4960.

Join Commissioner Jeff Kinnard for a Town Hall Meeting in Citrus Springs on February 21

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

Citrus County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Jeff Kinnard will be holding a Town Hall Meeting for the general public to attend on Thursday, February 21, 2019. The meeting will be held during the Citrus Springs Civic Association’s regularly scheduled meeting at the Citrus Springs Community Center, located at 1570 W. Citrus Springs Blvd. in Citrus Springs beginning at 7pm.

“My aim is to connect with the community on issues and challenges facing our county, from public parks to road resurfacing.  I want to know what’s on people’s minds and have a format to discuss, reflect, and problem solve.” explained Kinnard. “Please come with questions or concerns, as this is intended to be an informal setting.”

For more information, please call Public Information Officer Cynthia Oswald at (352) 527-5484.

County Office closings and holiday hours for Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

Citrus County Government offices will be closed Monday, January 21, 2019, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

The Citrus County Landfill will be open until 2:30pm on Monday, January 21, 2019, the Administration Office is closed. 

Citrus County Transit Services will be closed Monday, January 21, 2019.

All library branches will be closed Monday, January 21, 2019.

Bicentennial Pool will be closed Monday January 21, 2019.




Veterans Services Advisory Board Seeking Applications for Vacancies

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners is seeking applications for three (3) vacancies on the Veterans Services Advisory Board.  This Advisory Board is seeking qualified members to complete the terms ending on January 31, 2019.  Eligible applicants must be a Veteran of a war time era, a registered vote in Citrus County and must have a letter of recommendation by the DAV, VFW or American Legion.

The Veteran Services Advisory Board meets the second Thursday of every other month at the Citrus County Resource Center, located at 2804 W. Marc Knighton Court in Lecanto.  The purpose of this Board is to advise the Veterans Service Officer on the unmet needs, policies, services, and all other pertinent matters as it relates to veterans’ services

Applications are due by February 7, 2019 and those Applications which meet the eligibility requirements will be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for evaluation, nomination and selection.  Applications can be found at: http://www.citrusbocc.com/comissioners/advboards/advisory-board-application.pdf. Please submit your application to; Citrus County Board of County Commissioners attention:  Denise Gallagher Citrus County Administration

3600 W Sovereign Path, Suite 267, Lecanto, FL   34461

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft Program Offered at Coastal Region Library

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

With identity theft becoming a more serious issue, the Citrus County Library System has partnered with Suncoast Credit Union to help residents avoid being scammed. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to attend a free presentation on Monday, January 14, 2019 at 10:30am at the Coastal Region branch of the library, no RSVP needed. Attendees will learn the methods that identity thieves use to access confidential information, tools for preventing ID theft, and steps to take should identity theft occur. The scammers are always coming up with new ways to cheat you, stay up to date on your knowledge to avoid being tricked. Light refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Library. 

UPDATED INFORMATION: Citrus County Code Review and Appeals Board to Hold Meeting

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

Citrus County Code Review and Appeals Board (CRAB) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 9:00am at the Lecanto Government Building, Room 166, 3600 W. Sovereign Path, Lecanto.

This is the annual meeting of the Code Review and Appeals Board and agenda items include:

* Swearing in newly appointed CRAB member, Daniel Grannan

* Approval of the last CRAB meeting minutes.

* Open discussion.

The public is invited to attend. For more information call, 352-527-5332.

Seeking application for seat on the Historic Resources Advisory Board

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners is seeking applications for the Historic Resources Advisory Board.  This Advisory Board is seeking one position for Member-at-Large, one Architect, and two Alternate Members that will begin on January 31, 2019. The term is for a two-year period and will expire on January 31, 2021.

The Historic Resources Advisory Board meets the first Wednesday of every other month at 4:00 p.m. at the Lecanto Government Building, located at 3600 W. Sovereign Path, Lecanto. The Historic Resources Advisory Board assists county entities to identify, evaluate, and protect historic properties.

Applications are due by February 7, 2019 and can be accessed at:

https://www.citrusbocc.com/commissioners/advboards/advisory-board-application.pdf

Western Style Square Dance Classes with Caller Bob Scott

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

Central Citrus Community Center is offering Western Style Square Dance class with everyone’s favorite caller, Bob Scott. The classes are held Thursdays at 2:00pm to 4:00pm. At the Central Citrus Community Center is located in the Citrus County Resource Center, 2804 W. Marc Knighton Court, Room 114, Lecanto, Florida.  The cost is $3.00 per person or $6.00 per couple for each class. All levels are welcome to attend. 

 Robert “Bob” Scott has called and taught Square Dancing for over 30 years.  He has called at the National Square Dance Convention, and at West Virginia and Virginia Conventions. Bob was the club caller for the Hill Country Dancers, one of the largest square dance clubs in Eastern Kentucky

For more information, please call (352) 527-5993.

Carolina Shag Classes at Central Citrus Community Center

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2019

Here is the dance you always wanted to learn and here is your chance. The Carolina Shag is a partner dance done primarily to Beach Music. The Shag is a recognized dance in national and international dance competitions held across the United States.

Shag lessons will begin on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 2:45 p.m. and classes will be held each week at the Central Citrus Community Center, located in the Citrus County Resource Center, 2804 W. Marc Knighton Court, Lecanto, FL. June Queripel, Certified Instructor, with over 50 years of experience teaching dancing, is the instructor. You will learn the basics and several easy moves to get you on the floor and dancing in a hurry.

The cost for the four lessons is $20.00.  Join us and enjoy the beach music and learn the “Shag”.  For more information, please call (352) 527-5993.

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