New Report: WPB Planning Revenues On Pace for 16 Year High
Partial 2013 Revenues Also Rival Totals From All Last Year
July 9, 2013
(West Palm Beach, FL) – With only three quarters of the fiscal year gone, new numbers show City of West Palm Beach building activity on track for a sixteen year high.
According to a new report by the City of West Palm Beach Developmental Services Department, planning fees for the first nine months of FY 2013 total $269,584, putting the city on pace for a year-long total of $359,445. That total will be higher than any year since 1998.
Planning fees are viewed as a way to predict how much development and new construction is on the horizon. They include fees paid by developers for site plan reviews, and rezoning or development applications. These are the early steps before groundbreaking and construction.
“Clearly the word is out that West Palm Beach remains committed to improving how it does business,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “We continue to cut the red tape, and have reduced the amount of time it takes to turn around permits and plan reviews. In the last two years, a commercial developer’s wait time for an initial plan review has dropped from 22 days to just 11 days.”
Not long after taking office, Mayor Muoio ordered a complete restructuring of the departments that deal with permits, and other construction-related activities. The streamlining of the departments has resulted in several measurable improvements.
In addition, the nine month, $269,584 total almost eclipses the 12 month, year-long total from the year before. In FY 2012, planning revenues for the entire year were $272,726.
“The numbers clearly are showing that West Palm Beach is topping the list of cities where developers are returning in large numbers,” said Development Services Director Rick Greene. “Based on discussions we’re having with builders, we are anticipating that several of the projects that had been approved in the past will now be coming in for construction permits.”
The new numbers are not due to any single project (such as the new outlet mall). They represent an across-the-board increase in activity. They also are a good predictor for future property tax revenue growth. Once projects are completed, they contribute to the overall property tax revenues for the city, which help fund essential services provided to residents.