FINALLY, GOOD NEWS
At the Oct 1st Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District (the District) final budget hearing, over 150 attendees were present. After more than two hours of public input the District voted not to increase the millage rate from 0.9147 to 1.0519 per assessed $1,000 value of property. The vote was 3 to 2. Commissioners Vogelgesang and Rollins voted for the increase while Ehrnst, Wright, and Engel voted against.
Early in the discussion the District pointed out that they had over $38 million on their plate with projects such as Gumbo Limbo, Patch Reef Park, Ocean Strand, Countess de Hoernle Park, beach renourishment, tennis courts, and CRA contributions. It was obvious the District is over extended with a budget of only $43M versus the City with a $784M budget plus AAA bond rating. The city has the resources to build the golf course. Many in the audience felt it was the right decision for the City to take over the project and hire a project manager and architect of their own choosing.
Of those in attendance it appeared the majority did not want a tax increase. But they did want a golf course, just not a $28M one designed by the District. City Councilman Thomson promised the City would build a quality golf course with at least a $10 million contribution. The city would also offer financing to the District for such items as the east side of the course, Gumbo Limbo, and others. He said the City would do so at generous terms due to their AAA bond rating. Part of the agreement may also include the City picking up another approximately $10M tab for renovations at the Countess de Hoernle Park / Spanish River Athletic Facility.
The next step is to iron out the details to form an Interlocal Agreement between the City and the District. This deal could be a win-win for the residents as it prevents a tax increase from the District and both entities may may now move forward with a quality municipal golf course for the City.
POINTS TO PONDER
- Will the District have the money to finance its other projects such as Gumbo Limbo?
- How will the District handle the offer to buy Ocean Strand?
- Will the City follow the history of building El Rio park,30 years and counting, Wildflower Park,3 years and haven’t started construction?