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Hurricane Victims to Get Tax Breaks

By: Jennifer Ryan
By: Jennifer Ryan

There’s more relief in sight for Hurricane Dennis victims. Gov. Bush is passing a bill to extend discounts on property taxes. Now, county leaders must give it the green light.

Hurricane Dennis packed a sucker punch in 2005. A storm surge taller and wider than predicted crashed into Franklin and Wakulla County.

Joe Blanchard with Wakulla County Emergency Management says, "We actually had 42 homes destroyed, another 60 to 70 that received fairly serious damages.”

Now those Florida homes inside the county's major disaster areas qualify for a tax break.

"It basically extends the time period to get your discount."

Up to four percent if you pay by January 31, three percent if you get those checks in by February 28 and two percent discounts for those who pay by March 31.

Howard Kessler, Wakulla County Commissioner, says, "I think it's something good that we can give back to people, those that normally pay in advance but because of storms this year they can't."

And the discounts add up, especially along the Gulf Coast where property taxes are on the rise.

Cheryll Olah, Wakulla County Tax Collector, says, "It can be as little as three dollars, but if you're paying a lot it can go up to 100 to 150, so it's an advantage.”

It’s an advantage Wakulla County hopes to cash in on. An emergency ordinance to implement this bill will go before county commissioners next Tuesday at their next board meeting.


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