By Robert S. Weinroth
District Vice Mayor Robert S. Weinroth Palm Beach County Commission District 4
The pandemic has been high on our agenda for the past 18 months. When we observed the virus march through Europe last March, we left the normal daily supervision of the county and switched to emergency mode. The district is still in a state of emergency today. I would imagine that this will finally come to an end in the near future.
For the most part, life has returned to normal. This is not to say that residents will not get the virus or that other patients will not get the disease. But with vaccinations now available to anyone over 12, residents have cautiously returned to their normal activities.
If you’re like me, you likely carry hand sanitizer, be careful about “high-touch” surfaces, and avoid sick people.
With that in mind, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners’ attention is turning to the more routine issues we are addressing to move our county forward. In the months ahead, I will be reviewing the highlights of the budget that we will be adopting in September.
Some important dates in this context:
Our district administrator, Verdenia Baker, presented the budget proposal for the next financial year as part of our budget workshop on June 15. While the commissioners had a lot to say about the proposed spending, there was a clear consensus that we do not want to increase the tax bill (the rate at which real estate is taxed) for the coming year. That will make a decade since the millage was increased.
While the millage doesn’t appear to be going up, your property tax bill will likely go up due to the increase in the value of your property. Real estate values have risen significantly. However, if you are a resident of your primary residence, the total increase in your “taxable value” (the amount to which the Millage Rate is applied to calculate your property tax liability) cannot exceed 3 percent or the annual increase in the cost of living . This year the cost of living has increased 1.4 percent, which serves as the upper limit for an increase in the taxable value of a home.
The board of directors will set the maximum millage rate at its July 13th meeting. The millage rate can then be reduced, but the rate established at that meeting cannot be exceeded. Our first public hearing on the 2022 budget will take place on Thursday, September 9th at 5:05 p.m. The last public hearing on the budget for fiscal year 2022 will take place on Monday, September 20th at 5:05 p.m.
In its regular meeting on June 15, the Executive Board took the following measures:
Airports: Commissioners Approved Construction Manager at Risk Contract with Suffolk Construction Company Inc. for Concourse B Expansion Project at Palm Beach International Airport. Approved Amendment No. 4 of the General Advisory Agreement with RS&H, Inc. for advisory / professional services for $ 2,644,110 for continued professional planning and design related to the Hall B expansion project.
Career source: Commissioners passed a resolution approving CareerSource Palm Beach County’s fiscal year 2021-2022 budget of $ 16,955,437 for its programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.
Reassignment of the commission: Commissioners approved criteria for analyzing, reviewing and developing the commission’s proposed district maps based on 2020 census data and a contract of no more than $ 50,000 for professional advisory services with Jerry Wilson, PC for electoral law and political redistribution expertise.
Ethics committee: The commissioners approved several changes to Chapter 2, Article V, Division 8 of the Palm Beach County Commission Ethics Ordinance, Article VIII of the Palm Beach County Lobbyist Registration Ordinance, and Article XIII of the Palm Beach County Code of Ethics.
Meal assistance in an emergency: Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Food Emergency Program, its 2020-21 regional map, and the selection of Farm Share, Inc. as the contractor for Palm Beach County.
Engineering: Commissioners passed a resolution approving an Adopt-A-Road program to remove litter along Palm Beach County’s main driveway.
Plant development and operation: The commissioners passed a resolution authorizing the transfer of 0.206 acres of land to the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) in exchange for 0.159 acres. Approved an inter-local agreement with the Westgate / Belvedere Homes Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to donate approximately 1.36 acre property on the southwest corner of Westgate Avenue and Seminole Boulevard for the 24th Fire Station relocation.
Environmental resource management: The commissioners have adopted an amendment to the ordinance on floating structures by Cindy Defilippo, which prohibits the anchoring, mooring or other attachment of floating structures on or to waters of the district within the incorporated and unregistered areas of the district.
Housing and business promotion: Commissioners passed a resolution authorizing the Housing Finance Authority (Village of Valor) multi-family income bond issue of $ 36,000,000. Approved a local agreement with the City of Riviera Beach, approved up to $ 550,000 in labor housing funds for unit design fees and construction drawings. Approved funding of the Section 108 loan program for Oxygen Development, LLC for $ 5,000,000, pending approval from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Parks and Recreation: Commissioners passed a resolution declaring the Friday after Thanksgiving Day Family Day in Palm Beach County.
Public safety: For the period from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2027, the committee members approved the COPCN certificates for AMR, medical professionals and the health district (HCD) of the Secondary Service Provider Emergency Medical Service (EMS) with the option of a revisit. All other requests were denied.
Youth Services: The committee members conceptually approved financial allocations in the areas of economic access, educational support, and parenting and role models for the period from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2024, with an estimated total amount of US $ 1,130,000 annually.
Stay safe and sound and have a good Father’s Day to all dads out there!