RPB Council Gives Preliminary OK To $50.7 Million Spending Plan

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday, Sept. 8 to a fiscal year 2020-21 budget of $50.7 million. The budget keeps the same property tax rate of 1.92 mills that the village has maintained over the past several years.

However, due to rising property values, residents will pay slightly more in actual dollars. The tax rate is 4.97 percent over the rollback rate.

Mayor Fred Pinto explained that the rollback rate is the millage rate that would take in the same amount of taxes the village levied the previous year, so the proposed budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 is 4.97 percent above last year’s baseline tax revenue.

Finance Director Stan Hochman said the operating budget makes up 49 percent of the spending plan, while capital projects take up 44 percent, reserves are 4 percent and the stormwater fund is 3 percent. He noted that $2.6 million would be taken out of reserves to balance the budget.

“Once again, property values are up,” Hochman said.

Property values are up 8.6 percent, from $2.9 billion to $3.2 billion this year, he said, explaining that the owner of a home valued at $283,000 would pay $440 in ad valorem taxes to the village.

Property taxes going to the general fund would account for 23 percent of the budget, other taxes and fees 21 percent, licenses and permits 12 percent, intergovernmental revenues 15 percent, services 1 percent, fines 2 percent, miscellaneous 4 percent, and a current fund balance carried forward of 22 percent.

For expenditures, $24.9 million, or 43 percent of the budget, would be spent for professional services; contractual services including the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office contract would be 39 percent; other charges and services 15 percent; and commodities 3 percent.

Staff merit raises of 2.25 percent are proposed and a cost of living raise is proposed at 2 percent. Health insurance will be based on market projections, Hochman said.

Several employees have received promotions in the village clerk’s office, community development, public works, administration and human resources. Several positions have been eliminated in planning and zoning, code enforcement, engineering, parks and recreation, facilities and administration.

The $1.3 million stormwater utility fund will receive 83 percent of its money from the stormwater utility fee and 17 percent from the stormwater utility balance.

For the $24.5 million capital improvement fund, 7 percent would be received from parks and recreation fees, 20 percent from impact fees, 48 percent from the county sales surtax, 16 percent from the general capital improvement fund and 9 percent from reserves.

There was no public or council comment on the budget. Councilman Jeff Hmara made a motion to adopt the tax rate, which carried 5-0.

Councilwoman Selena Samios made a motion to adopt the budget, which carried 5-0.

The village’s final budget hearing and final adoption is set for Thursday, Sept. 17.