Final Budget Hearing on 9/22

On Monday, September 22, the final county budget hearing will take place at 6pm at the Government Center at 301 N. Olive. We still believe the Sheriff’s increase is much too large, but the show of support he mustered at the September 8 meeting has precluded any substantive discussion of the issue before the Commission. And although Commissioner Abrams suggested they discuss a modest reduction in millage (and the size of the $44M tax increase)... [Read More...]

On Oversight, Checks and Balances, and the County Budget

Our system of government imposes an arrangement of checks and balances, so no person or group can acquire unchecked power. When it comes to the county budget, Florida statutes clearly designate the legislative body – the county commission, to have the authority and responsibility to set priorities for spending and taxation. The administrator and his staff prepare a detailed budget, following whatever guidelines they have been given, and the... [Read More...]

First Public Hearing on 2015 County Budget

The first Public Hearing on the 2015 County Budget is Monday evening, September 8th, at 6:00PM at 301 N Olive, WPB, 6th floor. Unchanged from June, the county proposes to keep the county-wide tax rate at last year’s 4.7815 despite a 7% increase in valuations, which will result in a tax increase of about $44M over the 2014 adopted tax. This follows a $23M increase last year. These additional funds will mostly go to the Sheriff (67%), and BCC... [Read More...]

Maximum Millage Adopted

Yesterday, the County Commission set the county-wide maximum millage at 4.7815, unchanged in four years. Reduced payments on county debt have very slightly reduced another line item called the “voted debt” millage, and they are trying to claim a slight reduction by combining the two rates, but I am sure you are not fooled. (See: Rate to ensure tax hikes for many in the Palm Beach Post, and Palm Beach County holds the line again on property... [Read More...]

Maximum Millage to be Set on July 22

Tomorrow, July 22, the County Commission will set the maximum millage rate for FY2015. Staff is proposing the countwide rate stay at 4.7815 – which would be the fourth consecutive year at that rate. Judging by its position in an otherwise crowded agenda (Item 5-I-1), they do not expect much public comment on the action. The maximum rate is the do-not-exceed rate, and the final millage can be set lower than that in September (as it has been... [Read More...]

2015 Budget – Flat Millage, what’s not to like? PLENTY!

The Palm Beach County budget proposal, published this week, is quite remarkable. Not since the bubble years, when inflated valuations drove out of control spending, has there been a budget proposal of this size. Rising valuations should allow a modest return to the taxpayer through lowering the millage. This proposal, while holding millage flat, clearly notes that there are areas whose levels of funding they think are “unacceptably low”. By... [Read More...]

Another Go at the Sales Tax on Tuesday

The proposal for a county sales tax increase is back on the agenda, Tuesday March 11, postponed from the December 17 meeting by a 4-3 vote. (See Item 5G1.) In December, there was consensus that the proposal was a “potpourri” or grab-bag of small projects lumped togther to utilize the $110M a year that a .5% increase would bring. It’s reincarnation is still a grab-bag of small projects, but they are limited to infrastructure and spending... [Read More...]

Another Attempt to Raise the County Sales Tax

12/13/13 Update: This proposal now seems to be in disarray – the School District has requested the county administrator to remove any reference to them in the proposal. In a letter to County Administrator Bob Weisman, Superintendant Wayne Gent said: So that there is no misunderstanding, I am taking this opportunity to clarify the School Board’s position at this juncture on the subject of a joint referendum. We have not taken any formal... [Read More...]

County Commission votes to penalize West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach over Inspector General Lawsuit

In a clever but unusual move, County Administrator Bob Weisman last night proposed $916K in additional spending over the July budget package that specifically excluded amounts requested for West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach by $70K and $50K respectively. This was a direct response to those city’s refusal to pay their share of the Inspector General budget. The proposal included additional spending of $916K – $400K for the YECs, $175K for... [Read More...]

County Tax Trends – Some Perspective

After several years of calling for flat millage, it is time to shift our attention to the tax dollars themselves. Budget Hearings Monday, 9/9 at 6:00pmMonday 9/23 at 6:00pm There is an old saying that “nobody washes a rental car”. When you own, it is more in your interest to maintain the value of your asset. Similarly, if a third party is paying for something that benefits you, you may not think about the “value proposition”... [Read More...]

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