Key Initiatives funded in every annual budget are based on following: direction received from City Council at council meetings, the vision, mission statement and strategic goals as enumerated in the City’s Vision Document; the Comprehensive Plan and other planning documents; and periodic resident surveys. The City's vision is distilled into the following ten goals, which communicate the basic purposes of the City's government in simple and clear terms that are meaningful to City residents.
Sense of Community
Create linkages in the City which connect or gather residents and business owners of different neighborhoods and developments into a single community.
Responsive and Fiscally Sound Government
Increase the levels of service for City-provided services and facilities within the urban area, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
Character of the City
Preserve land use patterns that currently characterize the City.
Encourage provision of quality education through world class curriculum to ensure all children are prepared for real world experiences, hold necessary skills for jobs, and continue to pursue knowledge.
Promote economic development in the City through expansion of existing businesses and attraction of new businesses.
Protect the natural environment through sustainable methods and practices.
Parks and Recreation
Provide opportunities for recreation and leisure and activities.
Quality and Affordable Housing
Protect the City’s character of high-quality housing and focus on maintenance of existing affordable housing.
Promote balanced water resource policies and programs which address water supply needs, flood control, and preserve environmentally sensitive areas and water aquifer.
Promote logical phasing and timing of new development, consistent with capital improvement plans and budgets.
In 2020, the Council conducted a resident survey to help determine key strategic focus areas for its budgets. Overall, the results of the survey were extremely positive, with 98% of respondents saying they would recommend living in Palm Beach Gardens. The overall satisfaction rating of the quality of City services was also very high, achieving a rating of 4.2 out of 5.0, which was down slightly from 4.3 in 2017. However, there are several areas staff has identified that are addressed in next year’s budget. Below is a summary of these issues, grouped by the corresponding goal, along with the actions proposed in the Budget.
Responsive and Fiscally Sound Government
In recognition of the current financial difficulties many homeowners are facing due to record inflation for all consumer goods, the budget proposes to maintain the millage rate at 5.32 mils. Maintaining the millage rate at 5.32 mils offers several benefits to residents of Palm Beach Gardens. Firstly, it recognizes the financial challenges posed by inflation and seeks to provide relief to homeowners by not increasing the property tax burden. Secondly, by keeping the millage rate unchanged, the budget aims to provide stability and predictability for residents in terms of their property taxes. This allows homeowners to plan their finances more effectively and reduces the uncertainty of potential tax hikes. For a more detailed discussion on the impact of inflation on the preparation of next year's budget, please see the Summary of Significant Factors section of the Transmittal Letter.
The Budget continues to not levy the following user fees:
- Utility tax on electric, water, propane, and natural gas
- Collection fees for residential curbside solid waste and recycling services
- Storm water assessments
- Fire assessments
- No increase in the communications service tax rate of 3.25%, which has not changed since 2011, and is less than the maximum rate of 5.22%.
Funding for the second year of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement has been provided that will maintain department salaries and benefits at a level that will help to attract and retain the best employment candidates.
3. Of the 7% of residents that think the City should provide more services, the Police and Fire departments were listed most often.
To address the growth in the city’s western boundary and ensure adequate coverage, the city is adding 4 new police officer positions specifically designated for expanded patrol in that area in FY 2024.
Funding has been provided to continue the quarterly Signature City publication.
Parks and Recreation
Over nine out of ten residents (91%, +3% points from 2017) rate their satisfaction with parks and recreation services the City provides as a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale. Residents are more likely to use the following programs: adult fitness/wellness/sports programs; aquatic center and swimming programs; and adult enrichment programs.
- Two new full-time positions have been requested to be budgeted in the Recreation Special Revenue Fund due to continued growth and expansion of recreation programs at the City's Tennis Center.
- One full-time position has been requested to be budgeted in the Golf Special Revenue Fund to oversee the daily operations of the cafe, tournaments, events, and food and beverage activities.
- Funding for the maintenance, repair and operations plan for existing parks and recreation facilities and fields has been provided.
- Funding has been provided for the following recreation capital improvements:
PGA Park Parking Lot Expansion $150,000
Gardens Park Fence Installation 40,000
Mirasol Park Bleacher Covers 200,000
PGA Park Playground & Surfacing Replacement 400,000
PGA Park Shade Structure 49,000
The most popular environmental direction among residents is for the City to support more green space (82%, +5% points from 2017).
Staff will continue to explore opportunities for preserving open green space and will continue growth and development practices that encourage preservation of green space. Examples of the City’s successes in this area include the recent agreement with the County to develop the 82-acre Gardens North County District Park, and the approval of the Avenir development, which set aside approximately 50% (over 2,400 acres) of the total development as a conservation site.
Growth and Economic Vitality
The budget sets aside $2 million to be used for economic development incentives for these types of industries.
Funding has been provided in the Mobility Fund for the following roadway capital improvements:
Pedestrian/School Crossing Enhancements - Various Locations $18,000
Burns Road at Military Trail to Alt. A1A 1,000,000
Burns Road at Alt A1A to Prosperity Farms Road 437,146
Fairchild Gardens Ave - Gardens Pkwy to PGA Blvd. 75,000
Gardens Parkway - Kew Gardens to Prosperity Farms 150,000
Driver Feedback & Warning Systems 53,000