By Cheryl Blackerby

Property owners in the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District will see a slight decrease in their tax rate, yet most won’t be able to see it in their tax bills.

The district’s board approved a final budget Sept. 24, which included a tax rate of 0.9986 per $1,000 of taxable property value, down from last year’s 1.0066. Because assessed values rose 0.9 percent, according to the Palm Beach County property appraiser, the amount of revenue the district will receive for the 2012-13 budget year that starts Oct. 1 is the same as last year.

Only homeowners who have the same assessed value as last year or a lower one will enjoy a decrease in their tax bills this time around. Inside Boca Raton’s city limits, property values rose 1.2 percent, the property appraiser said.

The operating budget expenditures are 10 percent more than last year’s expenditures. The board is paying for capital improvement projects including a $2 million reimbursement to the city of Boca Raton for a beach restoration project at North Beach that took place several years ago. That payment is in addition to a partial reimbursement of $2 million the district already paid. 

“Prior to the last beach restoration, it was customary for the government to fund about 70 percent of restoration, which left 30 percent to be paid by state, county and local governments,” said Arthur Koski, the attorney for the district.  “But with budgetary constraints in Washington, federal funds were not available, and the entire cost fell on local governments. The city paid the rest.”

After viewing studies on North Beach and Central Beach, the board doesn’t anticipate additional beach restoration projects for five years or longer.

Other capital improvement projects the board is considering include Science Playground renovations; Phase 4 of Sugar Sand Park; and Phase 2 of the Spanish River Athletic Facilities, such as a paved bike path around the lake. 

The board also decided that the district and city of Boca Raton would become joint operators of the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, replacing the Palm Beach County School Board.

The center was constructed with a grant from the Department of Education with the Palm Beach County School Board as a tenant. The school board will no longer participate because of budget constraints. The park, however, still will be utilized for school-sponsored programs. 

The district includes the land in the southeastern corner of Palm Beach County, east of Florida’s Turnpike and south of Clint Moore Road, including all of the city of Boca Raton.

The board’s Oct. 15 meeting has been moved to Oct. 22. The first meeting of the month will still be Oct. 1.              Ú

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