Royal Palm Council Gives First Approval To Budget Of $67.2 Million

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council.

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved a budget of $67,268,349 for fiscal year 2021-22 at the first of two public hearings on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

The planned tax rate is unchanged from the current year at 1.92 mills. That is 4.04 percent above the rollback rate of 1.85 mills.

Finance Director Stanley Hochman called attention to changes that had been made at the direction of the council at its last budget workshop.

“The changes that are listed here are in the budget document, and they are included in my presentation,” Hochman said.

Subsequent to the budget workshop, staff created a position for a public arts professional in the village manager’s budget and adjusted the budget to accommodate a 5.52 percent increase in valuation, rather than the 4.24 percent previously anticipated, and incorporated the amendments made at the Aug. 19 council meeting.

The general operating budget represents 41 percent of the budget, with capital projects at 46 percent, reserves of 11 percent and stormwater treatment at 2 percent.

The village’s total taxable property values, including new construction, increased by 5.5 percent to $3.399 billion, an increase of $178 million over the previous year’s value of $3.221 billion.

The local tax impact of the ad valorem millage rate of 1.92 on a home valued for tax purposes at $231,000, less a standard homestead exemption, would be $348, Hochman said.

The general fund revenue summary of $27,297,471 shows 23 percent coming from property taxes. Other taxes and fees are 21 percent, licenses and permits are 15 percent, intergovernmental revenue is 17 percent, charges to services are 1 percent, fines are 1 percent, miscellaneous revenue is at 4 percent and a current fund balance is at 18 percent.

The general fund expenditure summary of $27,297,471 shows 42 percent going to personal services and 37 percent to contractual services.

“That is a total of 79 percent,” Hochman said, noting that the 37 percent is primarily the village’s budget for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Other charges for services are 14 percent, commodities are 3 percent and transfers out are 4 percent. Debt capital outlay and grants and aids account for less than 1 percent each.

Merit adjustments are programmed at an average of 3.5 percent for all employees, and a 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment is included based on the 12-month running average from May 2020 to April 2021.

Village staff has added positions, including a senior planner. Parks and recreation has added a full-time program coordinator, part-time public information coordinator, two part-time program coordinators and two part-time facility attendants. Two part-time facility attendants were added at the sporting center and two part-time facility attendants at the cultural center. Positions lost due to COVID-19 last year are being re-budgeted.

The stormwater utility fund revenue summary has budgeted $1,312,854, with 78 percent coming from fees and a fund balance of 22 percent. The expenditure summary lists personal services at 45 percent, contractual services at less than 1 percent, other charges and services at 36 percent, commodities at 3 percent, reserves at 8 percent and transfers at 8 percent.

In the capital improvement fund of $38,658,024, the recreation facilities fund is budgeted at 4 percent, the impact fee fund is 15 percent, the sales surtax fund is 52 percent, general capital improvements are 9 percent and reserves are 20 percent. Beautification and utilities account for less than 1 percent each.

There was no public comment on the presentation of the budget. Councilman Jeff Hmara made a motion to grant first approval to the 1.92 millage rate, which carried 5-0. Councilwoman Selena Samios made a motion to approve the first reading of the budget of $67,268,349, which carried 5-0. The final budget public hearing was set for Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m.