Dear West Palm Beach neighbor:
I am pleased to share that the city of West Palm Beach has approved a balanced $206 million general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY’22).
The approved budget honors our city’s commitment to our residents, neighborhoods and businesses. We prioritized community services, focused on public health and safety, launched quality of life initiatives through critical programs and services and continued to promote economic development in our city. Despite the fiscal challenges associated with COVID-19, we held the line on taxes and fees. There will be no change to the millage rate of 8.3465—or $8.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value– and no change to the annual fire assessment fee which, per residential property, remains at $100.
In addition, after months of negotiation, the budget includes historic market adjustments and cost-of-living adjustments with the city’s four labor organizations including the West Palm Beach Association of Firefighters, Fraternal Order of Police, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Professional Managers and Supervisors Association (PMSA). These agreements ensure our first responders and frontline workers have the support needed to continue to serve our city proudly.
Among the many programs and services provided in the budget are:
- Public safety, including an unprecedented market adjustment and the protection of 5% step pay for West Palm Beach Police and Fire Departments and the addition of new police technology,
- Parks and recreation, including continued youth and adult programming,
- Library services and enhanced cleaning measures,
- Customer service, including the implementation of technology aimed at identifying, tracking and responding to residents’ concerns,
- Personnel for continued development, design and management of infrastructure projects such as streetlighting, road and sidewalk repair, and signage,
- Mental health and services for individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as workforce/affordable housing development incentives, and resources to expand community engagement, and
- Cost of living increases for SEIU and PMSA employees (5%) and non-union employees (3%).
Separate from the General Fund budget, the Public Utilities Water & Sewer Fund and Stormwater Fund will finance protection of water quality from source to tap, an assessment of utility rates, and the continued provision of services to valued water customers. There will be no increases to stormwater and water/sewer rates in FY’22. Approved by voters in 2020, a parks bond not to exceed $30 million will fund improvements in many city parks.
I invite you to learn more about the budget on the Finance Department’s page on the city’s website, wpb.org/finance. Copies of the budget are available upon request through the City Clerk’s office.
After experiencing challenges with last year’s budget due, in part, to adverse economic impacts of the public health crisis, West Palm Beach now stands as a shining example of fiscal strength. Significant investments in new businesses and real estate, the resilience of our residents and businesses, and my administration’s continued commitment to fiscal responsibility all contributed to our fiscal stability.
I want to thank city staff, city administration and the city commission for their engagement in the process and hard work to ensure we had a balanced, approved and fiscally responsible annual budget.
In line with my vision of making West Palm Beach a community of opportunity for all, our city is on an exciting path toward a brighter, more prosperous future. For everyone. Great things lie ahead. I am so glad you are a part of it!
Yours in service,
Keith A. James, Mayor
Ribbon Cutting Held for South Olive Tennis Center
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Thursday for the new South Olive Tennis Center on Summa Street. The 3,061 sq. ft. facility features more amenities and larger locker rooms for residents, visitors and tennis enthusiasts. The building will be Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certifiable. The $2 million project was funded, in part, by federal block grants. The project was designed with input from South End residents. (Photo courtesy: Tom Bishop)
City Commission Updates
GreenMarket to Return on 10/2
‘Tamarind Slam’ Community Basketball Event Set for 10/1-2
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The West Palm Beach Police Department and the city’s Criminal Justice Advisory Committee have joined forces for the Tamarind Slam. The community basketball event will feature basketball instruction from local college, high-school and private basketball coaches. West Palm Beach community members ages 8 and older are invited to participate.
ICYMI: WPB Drive Electric on 10/2 On October 2, from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m., the Office of Sustainability will host a National Drive Electric event in conjunction with the GreenMarket. Learn about EVs, pick up free giveaways, and listen to live music by Dane Myers powered by Tesla.
Free Tree Giveaway The Office of Sustainability will host a free tree giveaway for West Palm Beach residents only. Application is required. The application period close on 9/29. Limit of 4 trees per property per year. Special pick-up for those approved will be at the WPB GreenMarket on October 2nd from 9am-1pm. Questions? Email Sustainability@wpb.org
Hispanic Heritage Month
The city will observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15, 2021 to October 15, 2021. This observance celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of Latinos/Hispanics. The city, along with its partners, and the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach (411 Clematis Street), will host various FREE community events throughout the month.
Mandel Public Library’s FREE September Events and Activities
REMINDER: Limited in-person programs have returned to the library with social distancing, smaller class sizes, and registration required. Please read listings carefully to note if the program is in-person or virtual. Safety guidelines and cleanliness procedures are in place. For the safety of our library community, patrons and staff are expected to comply with CDC, state, and county COVID recommendations.
- Thursday September 30 Clematis by Night: Samantha Russell (country)
Joint Mayoral Interview on 9/29
The Parks and Recreation Department is accepting registrations for its 2022 winter youth flag football league. Registration is open through Saturday, November 6, 2021 or until slots are full.
Fall Youth Fishing Day & Fall Youth Basketball Clinic
Stay Prepared This Hurricane Season
This press release was produced by the City of West Palm Beach. The views expressed here are the author’s own.