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Homeowners shocked after property tax hike

Posted at 2:00 AM, Jan 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-06 02:03:21-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Homeowners in Cape Coral are shocked after property taxes doubled and even tripled in some cases.

“This was our dream home,” said Debbi Baglio as she and her husband Anthony prepare to pay an extra $400 every month.

They got a letter in the mail from the Lee County Tax Collector Saturday. It read they owe nearly $3,000 due to a raise in property taxes. They said that’ll be triple what they paid last year.

“We are retired. We’re on a fixed income, so that would be very difficult for us to do,“ said Baglio. “I’m probably going to have to get a job.”

“We’re both going to have to get a job,” added her husband.

Frank Amoruso got the same letter.

“I don’t have $2800 laying around,” said Amoruso.

But he said he was confused when he saw the hike after a vote to keep a 3% tax cap on properties passed in November.

Even if they do pay the $2800 the collector said they owe, Amoruso and his wife still be stuck with a $200 increase to their mortgage every month. Amoruso said he would’ve been okay with the 3% increase.

“You’re not going to feel that. But $200 a month, you’re going to feel it,” he said.

The deadline to dispute this was back in August when he received a notice that taxes would increase. But Amoruso thought it was a mistake since he has a homestead exemption or a discount for living here permanently.

Amoruso said he hopes it doesn’t come to it, but he said he’s even considered selling his home.

“If we can’t get some kind of resolution or find out why the taxes jumped so much,” he said.

The Lee County Tax Collector referred Fox 4 to the Lee County Appraiser's Office for an explanation on the hike, which opens Monday.