What is the Parks Bond?
Twenty years later, many of the City’s parks are again facing critical needs to replace playgrounds, improve lighting, resurface parking lots and trails and install infrastructure that would allow for enhanced community amenities and greater activation of parks. The City desires to complete the construction, improvement, renovation, equipping and furnishing of some parks and recreation projects (see below) and desires to issue general obligation bonds to fund these parks and recreation projects in an amount not to exceed $30 million.
On November 18, 2019, City Commissioners gave preliminary approval to a bond referendum election in conjunction with the regular municipal election on March 17, 2020.
During the December 2, 2019 meeting of the West Palm Beach City Commission, the 2020 Parks Bond Referendum was approved unanimously by the City Commission. As a result, this initiative will be presented to voters in conjunction with the regular municipal election on March 17, 2020. If approved, the issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $30 million would facilitate widespread improvements and renovations to the City’s many parks. Additionally, the Parks Bond Referendum would be repaid from ad valorem taxation. It would not be an additional tax or fee, as property owners have already been paying a parks bond, which expires in September of 2020.
Why is the Parks Bond Needed?
What Benefits Would the Parks Bond Provide?
Why are These Improvements Necessary?
How Will These Improvements Impact Our City?
What Prompted the City to Consider the Need for a Bond Referendum Now?
What Parks Will This Bond Benefit and How Were They Selected?
- Alice Mickens Park
- Blum Park
- Brian Chappell Park
- Coleman Park
- Currie Park
- Dreher Park
- Echo Lake Park
- Fogelman Park
- Gaines Park and Community Center
- Howard Park and Tennis Center
- José Marti Park
- Lake Mangonia Park
- Lincoln Park
- Osprey Park
- Phipps Park
- South Olive Park and Tennis Center
- Sunset Park
- Vedado Park
- Village Paws Park
- Warren Hawkins Aquatic Center
|Park name||Estimated Cost||Improvements||District|
|Alice Mickens Park||$400,000||Repair basketball court, replace playground and swings
create ADA access and walkways
|Blum Park||$500,000||New playground and swings, improved lighting, repair
tennis court and fencing
|Brian Chappell Park||$600,000||Replace playground, replace walkaway and ADA access,
|Coleman Park||$380,000||Replace playground and swings||1|
|Dreher Park Master Plan||$150,000||5|
|Dreher Park||$300,000||Destination Playground - boundless||5|
|Echo Lake Park||$200,000||New playground and swings, improved lighting||1|
|Fogelman Park||$250,000||new playground and swings, new paths and ADA access||1|
|Gaines Park Comm. Center||$3,000,000||Community Center expansion and renovation||1|
|Gaines Park||$600,000||Tennis, basketball court repairs, pathway repairs, fencing
|Howard Park Tennis Center||$2,500,000||Total rebuild to hydro courts, new fence and lights||5|
|Howard Park||$80,000||light playground and walkway to playground||5|
|Jose Marti Park||$100,000||Removal of concrete walls, repair walkways - ADA||3|
|Lake Mangonia Park||$150,000||Bathroom renovations||1|
|Lincoln Park||$350,000||Additional field lighting, fitness station, shade, seating||4|
|Osprey Park||$500,000||Replace walkways, new playground and swings, replace pavilion, replace dog park fence.||1|
|Phipps Park||$400,000||Repair Tennis Courts, replace playground, improved lighting at handball, ADA walkways||5|
|Phipps Park Baseball||$1,300,000||Replace concessions and bathrooms, replace walkways||5|
|Phipps Skate Park||$300,000||Reconfigure ramps and update||5|
|South Olive Park||$240,000||Replace playground and ADA walkways||5|
|South Olive Tennis||$2,000,000||6 Court conversion to clay - lighting, fencing PHASE 2||5|
|Sunset Park||$200,000||Replacement playground and swings||1|
|Vedado Park||$150,000||New Playground and swings||5|
|Village Paws Park||$200,000||New entry and parking||2|
|Warren Hawkins Aquatic Center||$1,250,000||Rebuild swimming pool and locker rooms to meet swim meet regulation size||1|
|Currie Park||$8,000,000||Renovations, improvements, based on community input||1|
|Contract Engineer - Project Management||$750,000||$150,000 for 5 years ... includes vehicle, office space, etc.|
|Park System Wide Upgrades||$5,000,000|
|Total Estimated Costs||$30,000,000|
Residents and subject matter experts were consulted on what aspects of public parks are critical and should remain priorities.
What is the Total Capital Cost of the Projects?
After analyzing the needs of each of our parks, we have estimated that roughly $25 million in park improvements is needed.
What is a Bond?
A bond is a loan to a company or government for a pre-determined use, which is then paid back with interest over an agreed upon timeframe.
Why Does the City Issue Bonds to Pay for City Projects Rather Than Pay for Projects with Cash?
The City cannot fund the capital needed for a project of this magnitude with cash on-hand, so more fiscally-responsible options are considered.
Don’t My Tax Dollars Already Cover These Needs?
Your current property taxes cover the costs of daily maintenance and operations for city parks, but do not cover capital improvement costs. They also contribute to your city’s police and fire departments, and other essential services.
Does This Mean I’ll be Paying Additional Taxes?
Once approved, a parks bond is paid off within 30 years. If the new parks bond were approved, residents would be paying the same amount they paid last year and less than what was paid prior to that for the past 20 years, meaning the only change seen would be the upgraded public parks.
How is the debt service millage rate calculated?
Millage is the tax rate used to calculate your ad valorem taxes. One mil equals $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s taxable value. For example, the existing millage rate for the City’s park bond debt service is .1202, therefore you are paying twelve cents in property taxes for every $1,000 of your taxable property value. For the median priced home of $243,000 within the City that amounts to $29.21 per year($2.43/month). For debt service, the millage is a function of the required annual payment and 95% of the City’s property value.
Will the debt service millage rate be the same every year?
The current bond proposal is to retain the same amount citizens paid last year, if not reducing it.
What are the Authorized Uses of Bond Funds?
All proceeds collected by the parks bond are allocated to specific projects identified in the official bond statement.
How Will This New Parks Bond be Paid Off, and How Long Would It Be in Effect?
The bond will be paid-off within 30 years from inception through a special millage included on your annual tax bill.
Is the City Eligible for State or Federal Funding for the Projects?
While the State currently does have a small granting opportunity through the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP), this program has received little to no funding from the State over the past several years. If the State decides to increase investment in the FRDAP, we would match the program contributions with the bond funds to maximize your tax dollars and complete additional park improvements.
If the Referendum is Approved, What Happens Next?
An oversite committee for the bond will be established, which would spearhead community engagement opportunities for the parks that will be receiving upgrades.
When Would Construction Expect to Begin?
Once the volume of work is determined for each individual park, renovations will commence within one to five years.
How Will I Know Bond Projects are Being Completed and Funds are Being Used Properly?
The City will have a section on its website dedicated to showcasing project progress. Additionally, the oversight and parks and recreation advisory committees will be responsible for the accountability of the funds and status of the projects.
How Can I Find My Polling Place?
Your polling place is determined by your home address. To find your precinct, visit www.pbcelections.org/Voters/Precinct-Finder.
Who Do I Contact if I Have a Question or Comment About the Parks Bond?
For questions, suggestions or feedback regarding this initiative, please contact the Office of Community Engagement at (561) 822-1200, or the Parks And Recreation Department’s administrative office at (561) 804-4900 TTY 800-955-8771.