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District may put public golf course pact back on shelf

It’s not over ‘til it’s over when it comes to Boca’s new public golf course.

The park district could opt to not sign the requested agreement with the city. And wait. The next joint meeting was just postponed to Jan. 27, 2020.

“Take it slowly and make a good solid decision to sign. Or put it on the shelf until we can afford it,” suggested parks Commissioner Robert K. Rollins Jr.

The city offered to pay for constructing Boca National Golf Course in Boca Teeca. The original site buyer, the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District, agreed at the last joint meeting Nov. 12.

But the city still refused to sign off on the district’s design by Price Fazio. Council decided to ask for proposals by other designers instead.

Handing the whole project over to the city got major pushback by speakers at the district’s Monday meeting.

“We were a little bit disappointed in the outcome. Someone needs to look into unreasonably withholding [design] approval,” Greg Galanis, president of Boca’s golf association told commissioners.

“Just do the east course and raise the millage rate,” urged Harold Chaffee, president of Keep Golf in Boca.

But without raising their tax rate, they had no other choice. The district can’t afford to build the course, said Commissioner Steven Engel. “As distasteful to me to say to the city, ‘it’s all yours,’ I don’t see any way out,” he said. “We wanted to do it. We still want to do it.”

He even proposed disbanding the district, but got no seconds on his motion to approve.

Waiting would mean another year for a tax/millage rate increase to raise the money. Budgets and millage public hearings are held every October.

The district planned to do that, but backed off after a mini-taxpayer revolt at two hearings.

“Out of 20 speakers, maybe five were in favor of raising the millage rate,” Engel reminded a speaker. “It comes back to, they’re holding all the cards,” he added about the city.

By Marci Shatzman

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