Mayor Muoio: My Goal is to Avoid Raising Millage Rate
Mayor Muoio Announces Four Budget Goals for 2015
May 12, 2014
(West Palm Beach, FL) – West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio announced her preliminary 2015 budget goals during a Monday budget hearing.
This was the first budget discussion on next year’s budget. The process of drafting the city’s new budget is just getting underway.
During her opening remarks, Mayor Muoio outlined four priorities she wants to see reflected in next year’s budget.
First and foremost, said Muoio, she wants to hold the line on the city’s tax rate, saying she wants to avoid any increase in the millage rate this coming year.
Second, Mayor Muoio called for replenishing the money pulled from reserves during last years budget process.
Third, the Mayor said the city must find a way to fund needed and long-delayed capital improvement projects in the city.
The Mayor’s fourth goal is to find a way to offer city employees their first wage increase since 2007.
“Our attrition rate has been a direct result of our inability to provide any employee raises for the past seven years, while at the same time cutting staff. We have asked a shrinking number of people to do a growing amount of work for many years. Any employment expert will tell you the only ways to solve that are either hire more people, or better compensate the ones you have left,” said Muoio.
Commissioner Ike Robinson echoed the Mayor’s call for an employee wage increase.
“That is my number one priority for this upcoming budget year….We have some brilliant people in this city and if you think that there aren’t cities around the nation that are looking at some of our employees, we’re playing ostrich,” said Robinson.
The latest estimate from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers Office predicted a 4.42% increase in property values.
“This is more optimistic than we anticipated, but it comes with a note of caution,” warned Muoio.
“The fiscal challenges we have faced over the past seven-plus years will not be solved in a year…in two years…or even five years,” said Mayor Muoio. “We are on the right path, but we need to continue to be conservative and careful to make sure we stay on that path.”