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County Shelves Plan to Charge Elite Teams for Field Use

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Copyright 2013 The Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Palm Beach Post (Florida)
 
September 24, 2013 Tuesday
FINAL EDITION
 
LOCAL & BUSINESS; Pg. 2B
 
483 words
 
 
Commission OKs $3.3 billion budget;
Members postpone plan to charge some teams for field use.
 
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
 
WEST PALM BEACH
 

Palm Beach County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved the county's $3.3 billion spending plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

The budget will hold the countywide property tax rate at this year's level of $4.99 per $1,000 of taxable value. That tax rate includes a separate levy for voter-approved debt.

At that rate, the county would still generate about $23.5 million more than it did this year because of rising property values.

During an hourlong public hearing on the budget proposal, the commission made a last-minute decision to postpone a plan to charge elite youth sports teams to use county fields for games and practices. Elite, or travel teams, are smaller and more selective than recreational-league teams and require tryouts for membership.

Several children dressed in their team uniforms attended Monday's meeting to oppose the $10-an-hour fee. Team representatives and coaches said it was unfair for the county's Parks and Recreation Department to charge elite travel teams and not recreational youth leagues.

"This will hinder our organizations," said Rick Julylia, with the West Boynton Travel Association.

"Our community prides ourselves on our baseball and softball organizations."

Commissioners agreed, and instead directed parks and recreation officials to look for other ways to raise revenue.

"For many of the families, it is just too much," Commissioner Paulette Burdick said. "It is a hardship for many of our communities out there."

Parks officials had estimated the fee, which was set to take effect Oct. 1, would generate as much as $300,000 a year. Parks and Recreation Director Eric Call said Monday his department planned to use money raised by the fee to pay staffers to monitor use of the fields in the evenings and on the weekends.

"There have been altercations," Call said. "There has been illegal use of our fields. We need some staff out there to help us get a handle on what is going on out there."

Call said his department's budget has been cut by $11 million over the last five years. More than 170 positions have been eliminated, he said.

Some in Monday's crowd urged county officials to charge all teams a flat fee at the beginning of every season to use county fields.

jsorentrue@pbpost.com Twitter: @sorentruepbp

2013-14 BUDGET

Estimated revenue: $623.1 million, $23.5 million more than this year

Tax rate: $4.99 per $1,000 in taxable value, the same as last year (includes 20 cents per $1,000 in taxable value for voter-approved debt payments).

What this means for a homesteaded property owner: The owner of a home assessed in 2012 at $250,000 with a $50,000 homestead exemption paid about $998 in county taxes this year and would pay $21 more in county property taxes next year based on the same $4.99 rate, an increase of about 2.1 percent. That assumes the assessed value of the home grew by 1.7 percent -- the maximum allowed this year under state law.

 
September 24, 2013
 
 
 

 

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