Miami-Dade County property tax values plummeted 9 percent during the past year, making it easily the worst annual drop in the last quarter century, according to figures released Monday by the county property appraiser's office.
The severe decline compounds the financial woes for county and city governments and sets up a host of very difficult decisions for elected leaders, who will have to institute significant cutbacks or contemplate raising taxes on an electorate already struggling through a searing recession. They may end up having to do a combination of both.
Since 1985, property tax rolls have dropped just once -- in 1993 when values dropped 2.9 percent after Hurricane Andrew. A year ago, values were essentially flat.
''These losses in property tax roll values are unprecedented,'' County Manager George Burgess wrote in a memo to commissioners Monday, warning county government could face a $350 million to $400 million shortfall.
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