RPB Council Adopts Unchanged Tax Rate Bringing In More Money

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council gave final approval to its 2014 budget on Thursday, Sept. 12, adopting a tax rate of 1.92 mills, which is unchanged from 2013. However, the village will take in approximately 3 percent more revenue due to property value increases.

Royal Palm Beach’s total budget for 2014 will be $32.57 million. Of that, the general operating fund makes up 62 percent, the capital budget is 21 percent, the reserves are 10 percent, debt service is 5 percent and the stormwater utility takes up 2 percent.

Finance Director Stanley Hochman said the highlight of the budget is that the economy is rebounding, with property values up for the first time in six years and growth projected for most major revenues. The village’s growth stabilization fund of $5.5 million was not touched.

Total revenues exceed expenditures, increasing by $998,000, while total operating expenditures increased by $924,205.

The village’s total property value, including new construction, increased by $67 million, or 3.7 percent, to $1.87 billion.

With the 1.92 millage rate, the village property tax on a $175,000 home, minus a $50,000 homestead exemption, would be $240.

The general fund totals $22.6 million, with property taxes representing 16 percent of revenue. Other taxes contribute 24 percent, license and permits 13 percent, intergovernmental revenue 15 percent, charges for services 2 percent, fines 1 percent, miscellaneous revenues 5 percent, the current year’s fund balance 11 percent and transfers 13 percent.

As for expenditures, personnel services, or salaries, are 36 percent, and contractual services, comprised mainly of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office contract, are 37 percent, for a total of about 73 percent going to salaries. Charges for other services are 13 percent, commodities are 3 percent, debt services are 7 percent and transfers out are 4 percent.

Merit pay raises are planned at an average of 2 percent for all employees. A cost-of-living adjustment of 1.8 percent is included, based on a 12-month running average from April 2012 to March 2013. Medical insurance premium costs are based on market projections.

The budget increases the level of service in safety with the addition of a motorcycle patrol unit to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office District 9 substation — an initiative requested by Capt. Paul Miles. The budget also increases recreation services with the opening of Royal Palm Beach Commons Park and all the programming planned for that facility.

Staff changes include the deletion of one foreman in public works and three aerobics instructors in parks and recreation, and the addition of two part-time building attendants, six summer interns and one part-time program coordinator.

The stormwater utility fund will generate $710,000 in revenue, which will come totally from the recently enacted stormwater utility fee, of which 61 percent will go to salaries.

The capital improvement fund is $10.17 million, of which 2 percent will go to the recreation facilities fund, 3 percent to the beautification fund, 19 percent to the impact fee fund, 43 percent to the general capital improvements fund and 33 percent to reserves.

Councilman Richard Valuntas made a motion for final adoption of the 2014 budget, which carried 5-0.