Promising Revenue Benefits In Acreage Incorporation Study

If The Acreage were to incorporate, it would draw about $15 million in revenue, with only about $10 million to spend, and no ad valorem tax in its first years.

That was the summary of a feasibility study done by a group of Florida Atlantic University professors at the request of Preserve the Lifestyle of The Acreage Now (PLAN), which presented the study to about 50 residents on Monday at the Acreage library.

The meeting was part of a series that will include reviews of a proposed charter and other documents required for incorporation.

PLAN organizer Brett Taylor said the study and related documents will be submitted to the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation for approval, and then go to legislative committees in Tallahassee for review before returning for final approval by the county delegation. It will then head back to Tallahassee for approval by both houses of the legislature and signing by the governor.

If it gets that it far, it would be put to a referendum by Acreage voters in 2018.

To make that happen, the deadline for submission of documents is July 2017.

“The feasibility study is the first step toward incorporation,” Taylor said.

Scott Barnwell reviewed the feasibility study done by Clifford McCue & Associates.

The study states that The Acreage satisfies a significant majority of the requirements for incorporation, including the size, density and boundaries of the area. Further, a proposed five-year plan shows that there is sufficient fiscal capacity to successfully run the town due to existing and future development.

Part of the requirements are that the area be contiguous. Barnwell noted that the creation of the City of Westlake divided The Acreage into two parts, but an easement connecting the two parts makes them technically contiguous.

Another requirement is that the area must have a total population of at least 1,500 and less than 75,000. The Acreage had a population of 38,696 in the 2010 Census, and the projected population is 40,378 in 2016. The required population density is 1.5 people per acre. The Acreage, at 34.63 square miles and using the population figure from 2010, gives it a density of 1.746 per acre.

Another requirement is that the area have a minimum distance of 2 miles from the boundaries of an existing municipality. Palm Beach County in 1990 designated The Acreage as a unified planning area, so The Acreage should be exempt from that rule, Barnwell said.

The new municipality must also have a proposed municipal charter, which will be reviewed at PLAN’s next meeting in January.

Although a proposed charter is not complete, Barnwell said that the plan is for a council-manager form of government with five council members with term limits.

Altogether, The Acreage is about 22,000 acres. A contest in 1994 suggested 60 new names for the community, but residents decided to stay with “The Acreage,” Barnwell said. A large majority of the community is zoned agricultural-residential, but the largest land use is single-family residential.

“The Acreage needs to preserve its rural community,” he said. “Unfortunately, we have had to grapple with historic rapid growth.”

The incorporation statutes require services, including parks, schools, utilities, police and fire protection, which is already provided through the county and the Indian Trail Improvement District, he said.

Several schools serve The Acreage, although most are outside its boundaries. Indian Trail provides about a dozen parks. Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Station 26 is within The Acreage’s boundaries. The station at the Grove Marketplace shopping center is now within the City of Westlake.

As for future growth, Barnwell said most of the undeveloped parcels are scattered throughout the area.

The Acreage currently receives most of its services from Palm Beach County, including law enforcement by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and fire protection by Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue. Police protection would be expanded by contract if The Acreage incorporates and is paid for by subsequent increased revenue sources. Fire-rescue is already funded through the county’s municipal services taxing unit (MSTU).

If incorporated, The Acreage would be a full-service town with continued protection through the county and ITID, Barnwell said.

The anticipated cost the first year of incorporation would be about $10,480,000, with the PBSO accounting for about $3,250,000 with expanded service.

Due to revenue sharing, ad valorem taxes would be zero the first three years, but by state statute, the town would be required to levy a minimum ad valorem tax in fiscal year 2021-22, which would generate an estimated $797,668 at a cost of about $60 per household, according to the report.

If incorporated, The Acreage would begin receiving state revenue sharing in 2018. If residents do not approve incorporation, services would remain under ITID and the county.

“Basically, this shows that The Acreage has enough revenue to incorporate,” Taylor said.

The entire feasibility study can be found online at


  1. If The Acreage were to incorporate, it would draw about $15 million in revenue, with only about $10 million to spend, and no ad valorem tax in its first years.

    Ok, so in the first year, no ad valorem tax is assessed. What about every year thereafter? Does this mean only in the first year there is some imaginary $5 million in excess revenue.

    Please contemplate a few things, if not many more. Incorporation means a double-layer of “local” “state” and “federal” government. A municipality must provide for every entity that already exists under the County, State and Federal Government, as well as funding for all of that. What might and does that mean?

    Contemplate, for example, the need as a new “municipality” for providing services such a fire, sheriff, planning, zoning, transportation,code enforcement, roads, affordable housing, commercial development, industrial development, condominiums, apartments, education, senior living, environmental, water, sewer, flooding, transportation, garbage collection, assisted living, drug/alcohol facilities, etc. etc. You name it in government, and when you incorporate as a “government”, you must provide it. This is why taxes go up, and you only need to look at Loxahatchee Groves as an example.

    That extra $5 million the first year, when you don’t need to assess, quickly is gobbled up. What you sought to protect is quickly gobbled up as well.

    Contemplate the Acreage/Loxahatchee Community today. Every road is private. Once you “incorporate”, every road becomes “public”. Ask Loxahatchee Groves.

    Think about the Acreage/Loxahatchee Community today, and realize that we already pay to the Indian Trail Improvement District a huge amount of taxes as property owners for maintaining roads, drainage and parks (and parks should never have been added, but now will also be a responsibility of new municipality). Is PLAN suggesting eliminating ITID, and will we have three layers of “local” government?

    Contemplate “homestead” law in the State of Florida. Once you become a municipality, only 1/2 acre is protected as “homestead” in the state of Florida. This means, for our 1.5 community, absent grandfathering, 1 acre is unprotected from exemption from lawsuits, taxation, and even bankruptcy protection (if you seek it as even famous president elects are won’t to do.

    Contemplate “Loxahatchee Groves” as an example of a community that incorporated to keep itself rural, when suddenly rural meant creating commercial and more. Check out it’s Board who is approving commercial even in corridors it said would remain “rural”, paving where it said it wouldn’t, and adding traffic lights.

    Before you get fooled by a “group” who claims it will give you autonomy, protection, and savings; consider what the ultimate “consequences” of creating a new “government” might be. It might be more than you considered; way more than you considered, and much more life altering, Rather than preserving, protecting, and creating autonomy, it might instead offer a “new” municipality that might deliver the exact opposite.

Comments are closed.