The Royal Palm Beach Village Council heard a presentation from staff on the village’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22 on Wednesday, July 7, with a key takeaway being that the village will not have to borrow from reserves to balance the spending plan.
“The good news is that COVID-19 was not as significant as we had projected in the budget. With the cost-saving measures that we did, and because the revenue changes were not as drastic as we anticipated, it puts us in a position this year where, between our carryover and this year’s revenue, it’s the first time in a very long time that we’re not using the reserves to balance the budget,” Village Manager Ray Liggins said.
Finance Director Stan Hochman said the total budget is for $63,854,136, with 43 percent allocated for general operating, 42 percent for capital projects, 13 percent for reserves and 2 percent for the stormwater utility fund.
“Our property values are up [and] our tax rate of 1.92 [mills] has been maintained,” Hochman said. “COVID-19 is in decline, and the economy is on the upswing. Because of that, our consumption-based revenues have increased, and we have budgeted positions that were lost to COVID-19 last year.”
Hochman noted that the village’s property values have increased, which will bring in some additional revenue. At the tax rate of 1.92 mills, a homeowner in the village with a property valued for taxing purposes at $219,000, less a $50,000 homestead exemption, would pay $324 in village taxes.
The general fund revenue is $27,244,160, with property taxes contributing 23 percent, other taxes and fees 21 percent, licenses and permits 15 percent, intergovernmental funds 17 percent, charges for services 1 percent, fines 1 percent, miscellaneous 4 percent and the fund balance 18 percent.
General fund expenditures are balanced at $27,244,160, with 42 percent going to personnel services, 37 percent to contractual services, 14 percent to charges for services, 3 percent to commodities and 4 percent to transfers out.
“It should be noted that most of the contractual services are to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office contract,” Hochman said. “Effectively, 79 percent of the budget is for personnel services.”
He noted that merit adjustments are programmed at an average of 3.5 percent for all employees, as well as a 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment.
The Planning & Zoning Department will add a senior planner, while Parks & Recreation will add a full-time program coordinator, a part-time public information specialist, two part-time program coordinators and two part-time facility attendants. Two part-time facility attendants will be added at the sporting center, and two part-time facility attendants will be added at the cultural center.
The stormwater utility fund anticipates $1,312,854, with 78 percent from utility fees and 22 percent from the fund balance.
The capital improvement fund anticipates $35,297,123, with 4 percent from recreation facilities fees, 17 percent from impact fee funds, 46 percent from the sales surtax, 10 percent from general capital improvements and 23 percent from reserves.
Village Engineer Christopher Marsh said the capital improvement program for 2022-26 will total $35,297,123 in revenue and $27,220,525 in expenditures.
Recreation facilities will have $1,789,462 in revenue and $1,568,683 in expenditures. The community beautification fund will have $448,232 in revenue and $96,056 in expenditures. The impact fee fund will have $7,027,669 in revenue and $5,912,569 in expenditures. The sales surtax fund will have $21,998,637 in revenue and $16,172,424 in expenditures. The general capital improvement fund will have $3,433,056 in revenue and $3,370,793 in expenditures. The stormwater capital improvement fund will have $600,067 in revenue and $100,000 in expenditures.
Marsh noted that the new village hall and site modification project is scheduled to have a bid opening Thursday, July 15, and the council will award a contract in August. Construction is scheduled to begin in November.
“We are going to completely construct the new building behind the existing building, and then move into that new building,” he said. “That will be the conclusion of phase 1. Then we will demolish the existing building and construct the fountains and parking areas between the existing council chambers. We’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of November 2023 to complete both phases.”