The Palm Beach County Commission gave final approval Monday, Sept. 20 to its $5,141,889,479 budget for fiscal year 2021-22.
The final budget’s ad valorem tax rate is 4.7815 mills, the same as last year, but 4.1 percent over the rollback rate of 4.5917 mills. It is expected to generate $1,054,405,928 in ad valorem revenue, which is $31,323,349 greater than the current year, County Administrator Verdenia Baker said.
The Palm Beach County Library District millage was set at 0.5491, which is 5.42 percent over the rollback rate of 0.5267. Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue’s millage rate of 3.4581 is 4.6 percent over the rollback rate of 3.3059, which required a supermajority vote by the commission. The Jupiter MSTU of 1.7880 mills is 1.2 percent below the rollback rate of 1.8174 mills. Palm Beach County’s aggregate millage rate of 6.5835 is 0.8 percent over the rollback rate of 6.4039 mills. The countywide voted debt millage rate is 0.4334, and the county library voted debt millage is 0.0333.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office net tax increase over rollback revenue is $33 million. The rollback revenue for other constitutional officers, including judicial, is $6.8 million. The increase in operations net revenues was $25.4 million, and the increase in reserves was $14 million.
The total increase in countywide funds as a result of the adopted millage rate over the rollback rate was $42,107,148. The increase in the library operations net revenues was $4 million. The decrease in reserves was $1.3 million.
The fire-rescue increase in net revenues is about $19 million. The increase to the capital projects fund is $1.7 million, reserves will have an increase of $4.6 million and a decrease of $8 million in reserves brought forward.
Commissioner Gregg Weiss made a motion to adopt the countywide millage rate of 4.7815, which carried 7-0. Weiss also made a motion to adopt the resolution for countywide funds in the amount of $5,141,889,479, which passed 7-0.
Weiss made a motion to adopt the PBSO gross budget of $788,630,950, which passed 7-0. Commissioner Robert Weinroth made a motion to adopt the library millage rate of 0.5491, which passed 7-0. Weinroth also made a motion to adopt the library budget of $150,712,412, which passed 7-0.
Commissioner Melissa McKinlay made a motion to adopt the fire-rescue MSTU millage rate of 3.4581, which carried 7-0. McKinlay also made a motion to adopt the fire-rescue budget of $607,103,899, which passed 7-0.
Commissioner Maria Sachs made a motion to approve the $13,810,248 MSTU unincorporated improvement fund, which carried 7-0. Weinroth made a motion to adopt the aggregate millage rate of 6.5835, which carried 7-0.
McKinlay welcomed Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller Joseph Abruzzo, who sat on the dais with the commissioners, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who attended the budget hearing, and county staff, who she thanked for their work.
“It has been a heck of a year, a very challenging one,” she said. “This budget should be an encouraging sign to the community after the economic hit that we took last year that we are back on the right track.”
McKinlay said she is happy that the commissioners gave full funding to PBCFR and the PBSO.
“It’s an honor to be able to support our fire-rescue personnel and our law enforcement personnel. Despite what you might hear coming out of Tallahassee, this county has always been supportive of its first responders and law enforcement community, and they have done a stellar job responding to all of the challenges over the last year,” McKinlay said. “Sheriff Bradshaw, a thank you to the men and women of your department, and Chief [Reginald] Duren and your team. I thank you for everything you’ve done to keep us safe this last year.”
Commissioner Maria Marino said she had noticed that several municipalities are raising ad valorem taxes.
“I wanted to see reserves used if we were in a crisis, because that’s what reserves are for, but in this instance, I think we have done just the right thing, and we actually have reserves from the federal government,” Marino said. “That’s what we’re using right now. I also appreciate the fact that our millage rate has been held steady.”