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.
Earlier this year, the Council conducted a resident survey to determine the key strategic focus areas for budget allocation. The survey results were highly positive, with 96.2% of respondents indicating their recommendation to live in Palm Beach Gardens. The survey also highlighted the city's low crime rates and the quality of amenities, such as shopping options, restaurants, and community events, as significant factors in choosing to live in Palm Beach Gardens.
Furthermore, the overall satisfaction rating for the quality of City services was remarkable at 98.4% of respondents. However, staff has identified several areas that require attention to further enhance overall satisfaction in the upcoming budget year. Specifically, 53.5% of respondents expressed a desire for more walking, biking friendly streets, greenways, and paths, as well as 49.7% of respondents would like increased large community events such as carnivals, festivals, or food truck nights.
Below is a summary of these identified issues, categorized by their corresponding goals, along with the proposed actions outlined 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 contains a proposed tax reduction of 2.8%, from 5.32 to 5.17 mils. This will ensure that most homesteaded properties will see little change in their property taxes for the upcoming year. By reducing the millage rate to 5.17 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, 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. In response 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.
Parks and Recreation
1. Respondents were asked to rate their level of support for potential actions the city could take in the next 5 years. Respondents felt most supportive of adding new amenities to existing city parks with 94.8% of respondents and increased indoor recreation space with 91.4% of respondents.
2. Respondents most often report using the Sandhill Crane Golf Course (20% of respondents), tennis and pickleball center and programs (16.6% of respondents), and youth recreation programs (16% of respondents) in the past 6 months. Respondents were most satisfied with adult enrichment programs (100% of respondents), youth camps and programs (98.3% of respondents), and youth recreation programs (97.9% of respondents). Each of the programs, services, and amenities received mostly satisfactory ratings.
- 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
Staff will continue to explore opportunities for preserving open green space and will continue growth and maintenance 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. Funding has been provided to continue median tree trimming and roadway plant replacement.
Growth and Economic Vitality
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