By Mary Thurwachter
The Lantana Police Department has moved to new headquarters at 901 N. Eighth St., off Lantana Road next to the new sports complex.
The new digs are in a state-owned building once home to the Department of Juvenile Justice and used for training police officers and sheriff’s deputies for the past several years. The town has a lease on the 10,000-square-foot building through 2048, and put aside $95,000 last April for repairs to the DJJ building. The state Legislature awarded Lantana another $500,000 for repairs.
“The town’s $95,000 turned into $500,000,” Mayor Dave Stewart told Town Council members at their Sept. 25 meeting, when Town Manager Deborah Manzo announced news of the move. An official opening celebration will be held later. The new location put police near Water Tower Commons, a retail and residential complex being developed on the former A.G. Holley property on Lantana Road east of Interstate 95.
Manzo said the previous police buildings at 500 Greynolds Circle weren’t large enough and will house other town departments.
In other news, the council:
• Voted for a tax rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value, a 15 percent increase over the rollback rate of 3.03. Only three residents attended the public hearing for the budget on Sept. 25, and no one voiced opposition. Lantana had kept the tax rate at $3.24 for the past 10 years.
Stewart cast the lone dissenting vote for the tax increase, saying he didn’t feel it was necessary with property tax revenues up $182,866, plus income from the penny sales tax increase ($560,000) and new development at Aura Seaside and Water Tower Commons on the horizon. But other council members argued that the town looked shabby and needed more money for code enforcement.
• Honored Finance Director Stephen Kaplan and his staff after the town received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 20th consecutive year.