The Villages Daily Sun

Growth News Fruitland Park Lays Claim to Another Milestone

Fruitland Park added more new construction value this year to Lake County’s 2017 tax roll than any other market in the county.

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Posted: Friday, June 2, 2017 7:00 am

Fruitland Park has a new designation of value that just might eclipse its status as the seventh fastest-growing

U.S. city.

The city added more new construction value this year to Lake County’s 2017 tax roll than any other market in the county, according to Lake Property Appraiser

Carey Baker.

Because of the growth in the villages of Pine Ridge and Pine Hills, the city accounted for nearly 23 percent of about $604 million in new construction value the county added to the tax roll, Baker said.

“This is the largest amount of new construction added to the tax roll since 2008, and the fifth year in a row new construction has been a driver of tax roll growth for the county and many cities,” he said. “We added

3,074 new residential homes to the roll this year. This is up from

2,454 homes last year.”

Peaking at a value of

$22.4 billion in 2007, the county experienced a tremendous fall in taxable values during the Great Recession. From 2007 to 2012, for instance, taxable values dropped by about

34 percent.

Sales of residential properties largely account for the growth in the tax roll,

Baker said.

“We processed over

22,000 deeds in 2016, of which

11,590 were single-family residential sales,” he said. “The number of residences being homesteaded by the owners grew by

3.1 percent to 84,341 homes, a new record high.”

Because of Pine Ridge and Pine Hills, Fruitland Park also recorded the largest percentage increase in taxable value out of all the Lake markets.

Fruitland Park’s total taxable value increased by 52.5 percent to about

$458 million.

In a report released last month, the Census Bureau estimated the city added

1,539 new residents in 2016.

Of the 15 fastest-growing Florida cities, Fruitland Park not only had the largest percentage increase at

34 percent but also the largest numerical increase.

So many positives come from this growth, Fruitland Park Mayor

Christopher Cheshire said in a

recent interview.

“As far as Fruitland Park proper, this growth has not affected the character of the city,” he said. “If anything, we’re more upbeat, because the new residents volunteer at the library, the school and the police annex at Moyer

Recreation Center.”

In the coming years, Cheshire said, the city will reap considerable benefit as new property tax revenue continues to grow.

“Our future looks great, and we’re managing the new revenue well,” he said. “It’s a matter of balancing the growth, because the growth is quicker than the revenue coming in.”