By Cheryl Blackerby

    The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District adopted a proposed tax rate of .97 for every $1,000 of assessed value for 2014-15, the same rate as last year, at the district’s meeting July 21. Only property owners with a keen eye will notice the increase in taxes. Property values are expected to rise about 5 percent, lower than many adjacent beach communities, but enough to increase the district’s overall tax revenue.
    The taxable value of property in the district is about $21 billion, and the total net taxes to be received by the district are about $20.2 million.
    Overall, the district is proposing a budget of about $38 million that includes major expenditures for athletic fields and park improvements, including $6.6 million for Phase 2 construction of fields at Spanish River Athletic Facilities at DeHoernle Park.
    Other district capital projects in the budget include construction of Sugar Sand Park’s Science Playground, $1.1 million; and improvements and master plans for the Swim and Racquet Center, about $2.8 million, and Patch Reef Park, $550,000.
    Red Reef Park is slated to get about $1.6 million — $50,000 for a Red Reef Park master plan and $1.5 million for pumps, tanks and piping at Red Reef’s Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. The district also will pay for two additional employees, vehicles and maintenance equipment at Gumbo Limbo.
The district had budgeted $1.7 million for beach renourishment at central beach in 2014, but that money will now be carried over to the next budget after the city postponed the project. The city had hoped a central beach sand replenishment project could be done at the same time as the city’s north beach renourishment in 2014, but that project had to be postponed after several work stoppages due to bad weather. Renourishment of central beach is expected to start in 2016.
The district continues to pay for a deficit at Red Reef Executive Golf Course, which last year was about $250,000 in the red. In the budget, the district lumped the golf course bill with maintenance for Mizner Park, for a total of $356,000.
    The largest expenditure for 2015 is $14 million for park operation and maintenance by the city of Boca Raton.
    The first public hearing on the district’s budget will be at at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Community Center in Sugar Sand Park.
    “We will have a full budget agreed upon which will be presented to the public at that time,” said district acting director Art Koski.
    A tentative date of Sept. 23 was set for the second public hearing. ;

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