Lox Groves Council Finalizes Budget For The Upcoming Year

The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council gave final approval Tuesday, Sept. 20 to its budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Including transfers, fund balances and reserves, the town’s total budget for the new fiscal year comes in at $8.9 million, of which $5.9 million is in the general operating budget.

Town Manager Francine Ramaglia presented the final budget to the council, which was created following a number of workshop sessions and discussions at previous meetings. Assisting the town in its budgeting this year is support from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“Tonight is the second public hearing for the fiscal year 2023 budget,” Ramaglia said. “Our total operating budget is about $5.9 million, excluding transfers and capital. Our total capital budget this year is funded primarily by ARPA funds of $1.5 million. The total capital budget is $2.178 million.”

Assessments for solid waste collection ($400 per unit) and roads/drainage ($200 per unit) were adopted at the first public hearing on Thursday, Sept. 8. The solid waste fee is a $50 reduction from the previous year.

“That is the lowest rate that we have had in a least the last five years,” Ramaglia said. “That rate was lowered despite rising fuel costs.”

The property tax rate is 3.00 mills, which is unchanged over the past five years. However, that is 12.38 percent above the rollback rate, which is the rate at which the town would take in the same amount of money as the previous year.

This means that due to rising property values, residents may see a small increase in real dollars on their tax bill, even though the rate is unchanged.

Property tax revenues, projected to be $1.3 million, only fund a small portion of the town’s budget. That figure is up $156,833 from the previous year.

“This year’s budget continues the road rock and road paving plans, and additionally continues the significant drainage improvements that we started this year,” Ramaglia said.

The budget adds one employee in public works and decreases two employees at town hall. Meanwhile, accounting functions have been outsourced to a contractor.

Motions to approve the final millage rate and budget were approved 4-0 with Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia absent.