Taxpayers in West Palm Beach can breathe a sigh of relief after the City Commission voted Monday to keep the operating millage rate at 8.0739. While commissioners could have voted for the rollback rate of 8.4225, instead they opted for a 4.14 percent lower rate, which will appear on upcoming tax bills.
The rollback rate is the millage that would provide the same amount of revenue as the previous year’s assessments. Anything above that amount would be considered a rate increase. Mayor Jeri Muoio noted that the city has kept the same rate for the past two years. The first public hearing on the proposed budget will be held Sept.15.
Matthew Leger , representing the 7,700 members of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, commended the mayor and commission on their vote to hold tax rates down.
At the request of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio, Muoio asked the commission to direct staff to draft a letter requesting that the Palm Beach County Commission also keep its tax millage rate steady. It was decided unanimously that a resolution be written instead.
In a separate proposed budget vote, the commission unanimously approved adopting the proposed fire service assessment rates with no increase, keeping the rate at $25 for a residence. Rates for commercial and other businesses also will remain the same as last year.
Also on the agenda for public hearing was the new commission district boundaries, which were drawn according to 2010 Census data at a cost of $80,000 for consultants and software. Districts are reapportioned to contain nearly equal population and fair representation and must have a logical and geographically compact pattern.
Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell asked how commissioners could vote on the final maps when there had been no public input into the process. Since the commission has until Sept. 17 to adopt the plan, commissioners voted to postpone the hearing until after a special meeting can be organized to include the public and all interested parties.
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