Councilman Robert Weinroth on Boca’s budget, tax rate

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By: Councilman Robert Weinroth Special to the Boca newspaper
When the City of Boca Raton recently announced the property tax millage (the rate at which a parcel of real estate is taxed) would not increase for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, it was but another example of how sound management continues to reap dividends for its residents. More importantly, notwithstanding the decision to hold the millage rate, Boca Raton will continue to provide quality services to its residents, expanding and upgrading police, fire and municipal services.
The ability to hold tax rates constant is due, in large part, to an expanding tax base, which has resulted from an aggressive economic development program and the continued redevelopment of Boca Raton’s downtown.
Boca Raton boasts over 12 million square feet of office space. This is critical as its Economic Development Manager, Jessica Del Vecchio, works to attract businesses to the city, in partnership with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, under the leadership of its president, Kelly Smallridge.
Today, leading Fortune 500 companies have found their home in Boca Raton making for a prosperous and upscale community. Of the 62 corporate headquarters in Palm Beach County, 30 are situated in Boca Raton.
In 2010, the City Council created an economic development fund to provide incentives for companies seeking to relocate to or expand within the city. In the six years since the fund was established, Boca Raton has created or retained over 8,500 high paying jobs.
While the economic incentives, offered in partnership with the state and county are an indispensable ingredient as Boca Raton competes against other venues, it is ultimately the quality of life enjoyed by our residents that closes the deal.
Public safety is of paramount importance to a CEO during site selection. Boca Raton is clearly in the upper quartile in this respect as it is compared to communities throughout South Florida.
Next on the list of requirements for a company scouting a new location is an educated workforce. Our community can boast a clear advantage in this area, as well. Our A rated public schools; coupled with an abundant selection of quality private schools, offer a challenging and varied curriculum.
Boca Raton’s universities and colleges are, likewise, providing superior educational opportunities. It doesn’t hurt that Florida Atlantic University was recently named the number 1 public university in Florida. Coupled with Lynn University and Palm Beach State College, our workforce is well educated and ready to work.
Boca Raton can also boast a quality college of medicine. Only this week, the Charles E Schmidt College of Medicine welcomed the Class of 2020. The 64 highly qualified medical students comprising this class were selected from over 4,300 applicants.
In partnership with FAU, the Boca Raton Regional Hospital has been transformed into a teaching and research hospital. Patients are no longer heading to the airport when seeking out quality medical care provided by compassionate medical professionals.
The Research Park at FAU provides a supportive environment where companies engaged in the research and development of new and innovative products are nurtured with the essential resources necessary for their success provided by FAU.
The icing on the cake is the South Florida lifestyle, With over four miles of public beaches, 46 parks, and over 40 miles of pedestrian/bike trails, Boca Raton is clearly the place to work, live, play, raise a family and, ultimately retire.
This didn’t happen by accident nor is the city sitting on its laurels. Boca Raton recognizes the importance of facilitating economic development to create and maintain economic sustainability. It is no longer a sleepy little community with snowbirds and retirees as its mainstay. The millennials are coming and Boca Raton is already making plans for them to take their place within the fabric of the community.