Boca Raton to hear what residents want most from $168 million budget

Boca Raton residents are invited to weigh in Monday on how the city should spend about $168 million in taxpayer money.

It’ll cost about that much to run the city next year, a 6 percent increase from this year’s general fund operating budget, according to the proposed budget. About $3.4 million will go toward 34 new city employees, including four more police officers, four firefighters and an assistant police chief.

Officials also propose stashing away $13.4 million for future hurricane and disaster relief.

The first meeting to discuss the proposed budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall, located at 201 W. Palmetto Park Road.

Officials also plan to pump more than $87 million into major repairs and improvements, including:

— More than a dozen city parks would get $16 million in upgrades. Improvements range from major redesigns to smaller-scale landscaping improvements, but designs have yet to be finalized. Part of that plan includes adding a park at the former Wildflower nightclub site.

— About two dozen roads will get $5.2 million worth of repaving, according to the city’s proposal. Major thoroughfares on the list include Northwest Second Avenue, Palmetto Park Road, Southwest 12th Avenue and Butts Road. The city also wants to repaint traffic light poles and add speed bumps and speed detectors in neighborhoods.

— Plans are in the works to design and rebuild several city-owned buildings, including Boca Raton’s headquarters, its police station and other administration buildings. The city plans to add wheelchair ramps and other accessibility improvements at its facilities and potentially adding electric vehicle charging stations to eight different areas.

Revamp of Boca Raton’s Sanborn Square among proposed improvement.

— The city is planning for $39.8 million in upgrades to its water treatment and sewer systems, including equipment to monitor water and meters and improvements to pipes.

To help pay for the city’s upgrades and operations next year, Boca residents might be paying more in their property taxes and fees. Even though the proposed tax rate is the same as last year, rising home values mean property owners have to dish out more money this year.

Annual fire fees may also jump from $105 to $125.

The City Council will have to finalize the fee and rate as part of its budget talks in the coming weeks. A final budget hearing also will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at City Hall.


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