When it comes to the infrastructure sales tax, Key Largo is a donor community. The Upper Keys, in fact, contribute about $3 million more per year than they get back. If the Village of Islamorada were not incorporated that figure would probably be around $4 million at least. The Middle and Lower Keys roughly break even. You can find detailed discussions here, here and here.
The situation with the infrastructure sales tax made me curious about other revenue sources. Ad valorem taxes are the county’s largest revenue source. Therefore, I thought I’d look at those first. I’ve already compared millage rates here. The conventional wisdom is that incorporated areas will pay higher taxes than unincorporated areas. That actually does not seem to be the case. Key Largo and Ocean Reef have lower millage rates because they each provide their own fire service. In general, the incorporated areas actually have lower millage rates. The exception is the tiny village of Layton, which is also the only incorporated area paying for county fire service.
In order to evaluate Key Largo’s contribution to ad valorem taxes, I submitted a public records request to the Monroe County Property Appraisers Office. They responded promptly and gave me exactly what I needed. Links to each of the reports are provided at the end of the post. I used the information to assemble a table and compute each area’s contribution by category. All areas (mill groups) contribute to the General Fund, Fine & Forfeiture, and the Health Clinic. The Upper Keys, including Islamorada, contribute about 41%. The Lower Keys, including Key West, contribute approximately 44%. Key Largo and unincorporated Tavernier contribute about 15%. As was the case with the infrastructure sales tax, Key Largo and the Upper Keys are also major contributors to ad valorem taxes. Their contribution is equivalent to the Lower Keys and Key West.
The pie chart below clearly illustrates the contribution from each area.
I’ve also assembled this table for those readers who would like more detail: ContributionTable
Below I have listed the reports from the Property Appraiser summarizing the taxable values in each area (mill group). The contributions from each mill group to the General Fund, Fine and Forfeiture, and the Health Clinic were computed using the millage rates obtained from the Property Appraiser’s website. Those millage rates were discussed here.