The Editor
Palm Beach Post
P.O. Box 24700
West Palm Beach, Florida 33416

Dear Sir:

The Florida Taxwatch Center for Local Government Studies reveals that Palm Beach County is carrying sizable reserves well above those of similar counties (see link below).   If this is true, why are County Commissioners considering yet another tax increase when a simple transfer from savings would accomplish the task at hand?

Florida Taxwatch calculates that Palm Beach County’s Combined Governmental Fund—the County’s savings—totaled $1.26 billion in 2010.  While 25% of total expenditures is considered a healthy reserve in hurricane prone counties like ours, Palm Beach County officials have accumulated more than 50% of their total expenditures—a percentage that was even greater several years ago. 

Florida Taxwatch suggests that Palm Beach County should use excess reserve funds to address its budget needs.

The Taxwatch Report maintains that County Commissioners could reduce the reserves from 50% to 40%—still more-than-adequate by any standard—and free up $187,674,718 to be reclassified or redirected for other purposes.  This amount could easily fund the estimated $15 million required to keep the millage rate constant in 2012.

The Palm Beach Civic Association (PBCA) believes the public deserves a break from tax increases of more than 25% in the past two years.  While we applaud the County’s foresight in building reserves and acknowledge the importance of adequate funding for such things as hurricane relief, we call on the County Commissioners to use their excessive savings to meet the County’s 2012 budget shortfall.

John J Borland

John J. Borland
Civic Association Director
Tax & Finance Sub-Committee on Palm Beach County Chairman

Pat Cooper

J. Patterson Cooper
Civic Association Secretary & Treasurer
Tax & Finance Committee Chairman 

http://www.floridataxwatch.org/resources/pdf/PalmBeachCountyStudy.pdf