By Mary Hladky
Boca Raton’s property tax rate will remain unchanged from last year.
City Council members unanimously approved a rate of $3.6787 per $1,000 of taxable property value on Sept. 23.
Although the rate stays the same, it amounts to a 4.2% increase in taxes because the city’s property values increased this year. Boca Raton’s taxable property value is now $25 billion, more than any other city in the county.
To bring in the same amount of tax money as last year, the city would have had to roll back its operating millage from $3.4793 to $3.3388 per $1,000 of taxable value. The operating rate does not include debt service.
The City Council also approved a nearly $784 million budget for fiscal 2019-20, a decrease from last year’s $864.6 million budget.
The drop is largely the result of the city’s eliminating from its reserves the $65 million that had been anticipated from the sale of the municipal golf course to GL Homes. That sale has been postponed until Oct. 31, 2020.
The budget adds 38 new positions to meet the demands of the growing city.
The new hires will include eight firefighters, four fire lieutenants and an assistant city manager. Longtime Assistant City Manager Mike Woika recently was elevated to become the city’s second deputy city manager.
The council’s May decision to keep its residential garbage collection and recycling services in-house, rather than outsourcing them to a private company, also contributes to rising costs.
Of the new positions, five are for garbage collection, including new refuse collectors. The city will buy new collection vehicles to replace its aging fleet and build a new vehicle maintenance and storage building.
As a result, sanitation rates will increase $3.99 to $21.59 per month for single-family residences, and $2.42 to $13.07 per month for multifamily buildings.
Homeowners also will pay $10 more for fire protection. The fire services assessment increased to $145 from $135 per household to offset the increase in the cost of providing fire services.
The fee for non-residential property varies depending on the size and type of the property.