ANNEXATION….The Reddest of Red Herrings….

4

It seems that the conversation about annexing western communities has been brought up every year by one City Council Member or another. It also seems that the City staff has been instructed annually to develop the cost benefit analysis of such a move. This year is no different….BocaWatch has been publishing for three years now and for each of these years this topic has been raised without ever realizing any true benefit to such expansion.

BocaWatch did indeed publish an article in September, 2014 exploring the merits of annexation and the true reason for wanting to expand westward. Is Bigger Better?

Then as now, and contrary to the notions that net tax revenues would be realized or that the expansion would square off the city’s boundaries, the real reason for wanting such an expansion is a political power play, a political move to shift controlling votes from the east to the west; to shift political power to voters who reside behind closed gates where traditional campaigning is prohibited; where voters vote in blocks in club houses; and where the general public is prohibited from knocking on doors and handing out literature. Inside these insular communities, what will emerge are dominant influencers who cast a wide net over what information is afforded to the general voter base with little access for non-residents to counter.

Annexation this year is no different. Its most vocal proponent is Councilmember Robert Weinroth. Councilmember Weinroth is facing election in March, 2018. His effort with annexation this year is to ‘beef’ up a more friendly political base as he is clearly in political trouble with the voters in the eastern sections of Boca Raton.   Councilmember Weinroth needs help and he knows it….so annexation is his way of addressing his political deficiencies.

Annexation is simply a political move under the guise of raising more tax revenues. Boca Raton has more money than it knows how to spend intelligently already. As has been the case for years, Boca Raton is hardly in financial dire straits.   Just recently, the property appraiser informed the city council that our tax base is presently the leading one in Palm Beach County. The tax base has survived the great recession and now grows at an incredible rate.

The early statistics recently reported in the Sun Sentinel suggests that this annexation of five small western communities would result in an estimated 763 new Boca Raton residents to a city of 91,000 . Moreover, the preliminary review by the administration suggests that Boca Raton would net approximately $505,000 in revenues yearly. Any net figure gets a bit obscure with recurring expenses in play. Examples are additional rolling stock for public safety; and water/sewer infrastructure upgrades.

The analysis of what expenses are rightly public versus those that remain private to the gated community is complex. One recent comment suggested that demands for “…median beautification, road improvements…” would be coming. That suggestion is probably an overstatement but certainly any analysis needs to include whether the interior infrastructure of lift stations, storm water drainage and interior improvements meet acceptable levels to support the city’s service obligation.

Back to my basic premise….the preliminary revenue increases are marginal at best in light of the extraordinary expenses required to gear up for support of these far reaching western communities. Squaring of the city’s boundaries is a specious argument and more in line with Palm Beach County’s objectives than the objectives of Boca Raton.

Some residents already feel that expansion and development have dominated the sensibilities of living in Boca Raton. It has been incredibly difficult to get the attention of the individual council members with four of the five already living in these private gated communities.

Residents living in the traditional grid streets of ‘old’ Boca Raton are already operating at a disadvantage. Further expanding the voter base to communities that have little involvement outside their gates and no life’s experiences with the traditional issues faced in the eastern sections is placing Boca Raton’s future on a slippery slope.

A word to the wise should be sufficient….

Don’t let the “Red Herring” confuse you…check out #2 below

red-herring1 

Previous articleWhen It’s Gone It’s Gone!
Next articleIt’s That Time Of Year
Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Great article. I knew what you were going to write even before I read through. I have been suspecting this action for quite some time. It is as if our elegant, friendly eastern community is being swallowed up by greedy developers and cement. And no setbacks, green space or charm being included in the designs. Your analogy about the difference between open communities and gated country clubs is accurate. It has become apparent that Weinroth uses his power and friends to get approval and funds to continue the overdevelopment of our pretty city. We need a viable alternative candidate for mayor to step up quickly.

  2. Less is more, we are already a far cry from the 40,000 initial density cap put in place by city founders. Introducing the prospect of annexing voters that might be outside the Beach and Park District is selfishly obvious. We’re told that thousands of new residents are queuing up to move into the concrete canyons gracing our downtown. Why not wait and see what the impact of these potential voters have on our city?
    Perhaps we should take our cue from a Higher Authority, in Hebrew (an alpha numeric language) the number 91 = AMEN Sounds right to me.

  3. I scanned your article quickly – but one other point you may not know – depending on the properties annexed, if it matches the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District boundaries, then that Special Taxing District will cease to exist. They levy taxes on the City plus a number of properties extending to the Turnpike, and use the funds for beach renourishment, operation of Red Reef Park, Sugar Sand, Swim and Racquet, de Hoernele fields, and a few other things.
    FYI

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here