By Tim O’Meilia
The South Palm Beach Town Council set a tentative tax rate of $4.39 per $1,000 of taxable property value for next year, but promised to try to trim that figure during budget workshops and hearings this month and in September.
The new rate would be a 1.6 percent increase over the current $4.32 rate if it remains unchanged.
The rate would bring in roughly the same amount of property tax as this year. The town’s property values continued to decline, falling by 1.7 percent — $4.5 million.
“I’m very disappointed we have the rollback rate,” said Councilwoman Stella Jordan. “It may not be a tax increase to the state, but it is to residents because the tax rate increases.”
The council set a budget workshop for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 7 and budget hearings for 7 p.m. Sept. 4 and Sept. 19. The council also moved its Sept. 25 council meeting to Sept. 19.
The budget proposed by Town Manager Rex Taylor anticipates no salary increases for town employees.
It includes $38,000 for new video and audio equipment and new audience chairs for the council chambers, $20,000 for building improvements and $15,000 for replacement office equipment.
In other business, Taylor said the town and the police bargaining unit expect a magistrate’s ruling by September following a July hearing. The town and the Police Benevolent Association are at an impasse on the town’s first collective bargaining agreement, prompting the hearing.