Palm Valley trying to make up for lost time

PALM VALLEY — For the third year in a row, Mayor George Rivera is requesting the city raise its property tax rate to help bolster cash reserves for future road and water projects.

Although the effort failed two years ago, he’s hoping the city’s residents and the City Council members agree again to increase the rate as they did last year.

He and others will be part of the discussion tomorrow at 6 p.m. during a first hearing on the rate at the Palm Valley City Hall. A second hearing and likely vote will occur on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m.

The tax rate proposed is a jump from 48 cents per $100 of assessed value to more than 51 cents.

The effect on a taxpayer would be an increase of $34 on a property valued at $100,000.

If approved, for city services, taxpayers would pay $772 on a property valued at $150,000 or $1,287 on a home valued at $250,000.

The increase of more than 3 cents is expected to bring in about $40,000 in additional revenue to the city. All of which will be placed in a specific fund to be used only for future road and water repairs.

“I am proposing to do it again this year, not because we need money to operate the city, but we just need to be in a better position for our future needs that are coming down later,” Rivera said. Currently, the two funds have about $100,000 each in them and Rivera will suggest any operating budget surplus will also be placed in the accounts.

Rivera said he believes this should be the last property tax increase for awhile. Having money in the funds, which can only be used for street repairs and water system projects, shows lenders “we do have money and a way to pay back” if the city needs to borrow for significant projects.

Rivera considers the rate increase minimal.

“It is not a big dollar amount,” he said. “It’s not a big hit to everybody. They understand that we should have been doing this the past many years.”

He said it’s an effort to bring the city back financially where it should have been to begin with.

No significant street repairs have been completed this year, but there has been patching and sealing will be next.

Rivera believes the seal coating could provide another seven years of wear on the streets.

After that, the city may have to spend millions for reconstructing major roads within Palm Valley.

Discussions two years ago suggested it could cost upwards of $7 million to make these types of infrastructure repairs necessary in the city.

There also are ponds to be dredged. Those ponds are the major drainage system for the city’s streets.

“There are still a lot of items we need to start working on,” Rivera said. “Now, we are just building up our cash reserves.”