By Bryan Boggiano
The Coconut Creek City Commission will meet to discuss the preliminary Fiscal Year 2024 budget at their August 7 workshop, starting at 11 a.m.
Amid rising costs, the commission does not anticipate an increase in the millage rate, currently at 6.4463. However, residents can still expect to pay more in taxes due to rising property values, according to city documents.
Annual fire assessments for single-family homes could increase by roughly 10 percent, from $257.40 to $283.14. For multifamily residences, the new rate would be $253.14.
Similarly, the solid waste collection and disposal fees are projected to increase from $329.70 to $342.89, or about 4 percent, for single-family residences. Water and sewer rates are projected to increase by 2.5 percent or inflation, whichever is greater, effective April 1, 2024.
Stormwater rates, similarly, are projected to increase slightly by 6.9 percent. This translates to a $0.32 monthly increase for single-family homes from $4.59 to $4.91.
The city plans to allocate $16,986,510 of its budget for projects included in its Five-Year Capital Improvement Program. While officials plan to use most of this for recurring city infrastructure projects, multiple planned initiatives are outlined.
Some of the potential funding would go to Veterans’ Park improvements ($250,000), Recreation Complex building rehabilitation ($200,000), fleet building renovations ($200,000); cyber resilience, security leadership, and disaster recovery ($175,000), lead and copper rule compliance ($150,000), and Government Center Courtyard and Breezeway renovations ($60,000).
There are also multiple proposed preliminary programs. The city plans to allocate $50,000 to a succession planning program providing mentorship and leadership development training to help improve and retain staff.
There is also a proposed community paramedic program to address non-emergency calls. At $2,500 annually, there are plans to create a fire cadet program to allow cadets to shadow and work alongside firefighters and paramedics.
The city hopes to create a recycling program for elementary-school students to raise awareness and promote recycling. Facets include identifying materials, contamination education, and drop-off center preparation and participation.
Besides the programs, the city hopes to construct a memorial to victims of the Holocaust to educate visitors about genocide and how society can confront human-rights challenges. City documents state this would involve creating a display on the Cultural and Awareness Wall at the Community Center for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, costing $50,000.
The city also anticipates three additional full-time employees: a community paramedic, a maintenance service worker, and a traffic police officer.
Monday’s workshop also marks the first time the city commission meets after reports broke of police officers bringing allegations of a toxic work environment, unprofessionalism, belittling other officers, and open retaliation against Chief Butch Arenal in an anonymous survey. Others said Arenal shows favoritism, and the department needs new leadership.
Officials plan to discuss further actions at their August 24 meeting.
“We’re treating the survey results and comments seriously and are committed to addressing all actionable and valid concerns,” Arenal said through a spokesperson. “Patience is required as this process unfolds.”
In response to the survey results, Commissioner Jeffrey Wasserman said, “We have a responsibility to our residents to ensure that the people working for them are happy, taken care of, and respected. If there is a cohort of employees who are not any of those, then we clearly need to have a conversation as to how to get there.”
- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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