Florida Amendment 1 seeks to help flooded homeowners prevent a repeat disaster

Central Florida Democrats oppose Amendment 1

One of the key issues Florida voters will face on this year’s ballot involves flood-related home improvement projects and how much it impacts their property taxes.

ORLANDO, Fla. – One of the key issues Florida voters will face on this year’s ballot involves flood-related home improvement projects and how much it impacts their property taxes.

The exact ballot language for the amendment is as follows:

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The measure seeks to give lawmakers the power to pass legislation that would prohibit local property appraisers from taking any flood-related home improvements into account when determining the assessed value of a home.

For example, if a homeowner raises their home on stilts or elevates their home to avoid future floodwaters, lawmakers could pass legislation that would prevent their property taxes from going up as a result.

Floodwaters rose more than a foot inside Paula Heiret's home in Ormond Beach after Hurricane Ian. (Courtesy: Paula Heiret) (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

News 6 pulled the property tax records of a few homes in Ormond Beach, which underwent flood-related improvements.

Before the home was elevated, the Volusia County Property Appraiser assessed the value of one home in 2012 at $153,839 with a property tax bill of $2,518.73.

One year later, after the home was elevated, the home was valued at $307,567 with a property tax bill of $5,209.44.

“Hurricane Ian certainly will encourage people to vote for this amendment,” News 6 political analyst Jim Clark said. “I think people expected hurricanes to do their worst along the coast, but there were thousands of people who never, ever thought about flooding, who suddenly find their house knee-deep in water.”

Some residents returned to Good Samaritan Village in Kissimmee for the first time since evacuating. But not all of them are returning to live in their homes.

Supporters of Amendment 1 said it would act as a financial incentive for homeowners to re-enforce their home against future floods.

Democratic parties in seven Central Florida counties, however, are urging people to vote no on Amendment 1.

Those include Brevard, Volusia, Seminole, Orange, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties.

“It creates a special taxing class for beachside residents who typically tend to be affluent at the expense of residents who cannot afford these luxury prices,” Orange County Democratic Party Chair Wes Hodge said.

He also said it could mean less money going to county governments to pay for schools, roads and more.

With Florida’s property insurance crisis worsening after Hurricane Ian, Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling legislators back to Tallahassee to address the issue, as well as looking at offering property tax relief to those who lost their homes and businesses to the storm.

“There has been a study, and they figure it will cost the 67 counties about $25 to $30 million a year,” Clark said. “When you divide it by 67, that’s pocket change for taxing districts.”

Constitutional amendments require 60% of the vote in Florida to pass.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and early voting has already started in all Central Florida counties.

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About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.