By Linda Haase
Although Boynton Beach city commissioners applauded fellow Commissioner Jose Rodriguez’s budget proposal, which would set the tax rate at $6.53 per taxable value, they approved a tentative tax rate of $7.30 per $1,000 of taxable value at their July 21 meeting.
“We can always go down but we can’t go up (once we approve it),” said Mayor Jerry Taylor, who indicated he would be looking for ways to reduce the 7.3 rate. “I need time to verify your numbers and if we can do what you say with that budget, I’d vote for it.”
Under the proposed millage of 7.3 there wouldn’t be any layoffs and there would be money for a controversial new police and/or city hall complex.
“We don’t know at this point if we would be using an existing building or building a new one, or if it would be just a police station or a police and city hall complex,” said City Manager Kurt Bressner.
“But we need to get the proposals in so we can see how much it will cost and if we want to move forward.” One proposal is an estimated $21 million stand-alone station which could be built on city-owned property at the corner of Gateway Boulevard and High Ridge Road, adjacent to Fire Station No. 5.
Commissioner Woodrow Hay said he was in favor of looking at projected costs “with no obligation to accept proposals.”
Rodriguez took a stronger stand on the issue: “I think we can do it all and get the millage rate to 6.5. That’s my challenge to the city manager.” Rodriguez’s proposed tax rate, which cut $1.17 million from the budget, included money for the police station.
Commissioner Ron Weiland disagreed. “This is not the proper time to do this,” he said. He also indicated that the city needed to “look at restructuring some departments,” saying that even if the city balances the budget this year, the tough times aren’t going to be over soon.
A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 14 to discuss the budget and tax rate.