On October 2nd, the Boca Raton Community Redevelopment Committee (CRA) came together to discuss budgets for the 2017/2018 fiscal years. The CRA Budget Meeting discussed its’ $150,00 plan to improve traffic in the city. $50,000 would go toward pedestrian walkways while the other $100,00 would go toward the medians in the downtown area. Changes such as these could be considered essential due to a recent percentage increase in pedestrian fatalities.
According to a report posted by the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2016 alone there were approximately 6,000 pedestrian fatalities due to traffic accidents. This is an 11 percent increase from the previous year, which is the largest rise ever in our nation’s history.
Florida itself is one of the four states that make up 42 percent of all the pedestrian deaths recorded in the nation. However, in addition to the improvements, the CRA meeting discussed, Boca has other traffic-related projects underway. These include the Glades Road expansion to increase both the entrance and the exit ramp towards Florida’s Turnpike and the Spanish River Boulevard Interchange on I95.
For FY 2017-18, the citywide combined uses of funds including operations, transfers and fund balance/reserves total $732,389,000. The citywide total operating budget is $443,173,500. The General Fund operating portion of the budget is $169,057,800.
The goals and policy agenda priorities include:
The Boca Raton City Council approved the 2017-18 budget with amendments at the final budget hearing on October 2, 2017. Additions to the $443,173,500 operating budget included carryover amounts from 2016-17 projects still in progress, financial assistance to not-for-profit organizations and a new full-time position.
The City Council adopted the 2017-18 millage (tax) rate of 3.6788 and approved a fire assessment increase of $20.00. The annual fee per residential household for FY 2017-18 will increase from $105 to $125. The fee for non-residential property varies depending on the size and type of property.
The general fund-operating budget, where most of the property taxes are spent, is $169,057,800. After the public hearing and discussion among the council members, the following additions were made to the budget:
$120,000 Full-Time Sustainability/Resiliency Position
$104,000 Tri-County Humane Society for Hurricane Irma damage to building
$100,000 Boca Raton Children’s Museum for Hurricane Irma damage to building
$50,000 Festival of the Arts Boca
$500,000 PGA Tour Golf Championship (from Economic Development Fund)
$64,000 Portable restroom trailer for Mizner Bark
$10,000 Tech Runway (from Economic Development Fund)
$75,000 Wrap traffic signal boxes around the City for Art in Public Places
$9,500 Additional Funding for Habitat for Humanity SPB, Spirit of Giving, Boca Ballet Theatre, Boca Raton’s Promise, D.I.S.C (Macedonia AME Church)
The 2017-18 budget also includes 48 new full-time positions, which will sustain the outstanding quality of City services and further the strategic goals of the City Council.
The Capital Improvements Program is the City’s plan for infrastructure and major equipment acquisitions for the next six years. $456,014,000 in capital improvements projects was approved for FY 2017/18- 2022/23.
New to the City budget this fiscal year is the Infrastructure Surtax Fund to account for the Palm Beach County voter-approved one-cent sales tax program. The City of Boca Raton’s estimated ten-year allocation is $58-$60 million, and an Infrastructure Surtax Fund has been established to track the funds.
To date, $47,260,000 in infrastructure improvement projects has been identified, and the 2017-18 budget includes $15,850,000 in projects. The City plans to issue a revenue bond to expedite funding for the projects.
The City of Boca Raton proudly supports the efforts of 38 non-profit partners in the community. These organizations provide programs and services to under-served populations in Boca Raton through the tireless dedication of staff, volunteers, and donors. Boca Raton provides funding to support the compassionate, innovative programming that defines our City’s character, furthers its strategic goals and creates a strong partnership with the community.
The Boca Raton City Council allocates funding each budget cycle for those organizations that apply, meet the criteria and are chosen as grant recipients.
Source: “2017-2018 Final Budget.” Boca Raton, FL, 17 Aug. 2017, http://www.myboca.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=156.
By Melissa Lebor