PBC property tax rate increasing 15 percent

By Tara Cardoso - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - All homeowners in Palm Beach County will be paying more in property taxes next year.

The tax rate is going up about 15 percent. That equals about $100 more a year for a $200,000 house. It may not seem like a lot, but many people are fuming that the county couldn't cut enough to keep its hands out of your pockets.

The new budget passed at a commission meeting despite angry protests from the public. Two county commissioner voted against it -- Steven Abrams and Shelley Vana.

Abrams says the county can find other ways to cut, and believes raising taxes in a recession will only prolong the recession.

Shelley Vana says the county relied on staff to tell them that everything that could have been cut, was cut. She wants the commission to go over the budget and all the programs with a microscope for the following year, so that enough can be cut to save taxpayer money.

Angry homeowners argued the county had spent too much during the boom years, and taxpayers are now paying the price.

The county cut about 10 percent out of each department it controls, but it does not control a big chunk of the budge -- the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw says he has cut everything he can, and there is no more to cut. He says the department has not hired any new deputies for three years, and the next big cut would come from personnel, and he refuses to do that.

Some commissioners, though, believe the sheriff's office can cut more and will hopefully be able to work on that for next year. On the other side of the coin, there are those that say a $100 a year for the average homeowner is a small price to pay for safety and sanity.

Many people spoke about their worries about services being cut if the county is not funded properly and they are not willing to risk that.