Tax Increase Robocall…Misleading the Public

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An Outrage….Robocalls have been received over the last few days containing misleading facts designed to generate public opposition for a minor millage increase by the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District.

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After over a year of negotiating with Boca Raton’s City Council for a financial commitment to fund the Boca National Golf Course from the proceeds of the sale of the Boca Municipal Golf Course, the District has taken an action to establish independence from the obstructionist City Council.

The District has engaged a financial advisory firm to identify the District’s bond capacity to move forward with the Boca National Golf Course, the Gumbo Limbo Improvements and other recreational demands of the resident taxpayers.

On the eve of the District’s final vote to increase millage, a robocall was received in my home claiming that taxes will increase 20% to merely fund the golf course design.

This robocall contains a series of misstatements and outrageous lies!!!

Boca Raton taxes will not rise 20%. In fact, Boca Raton City taxes will not rise at all.

The Beach and Park District is taking a final vote to increase its millage rate for the first time in years. If approved, the District’s millage rate will rise from the 2019 rate of .9147 mil to a 2020 rate of 1.0528 mil; an increase of 19.4%.

In dollars and cents here is the actual breakdown.

A $300,000.00 property in 2019 paid $274.41 in taxes to the Beach and Park District. This same property after the proposed millage rate increase would pay $315.84 in 2020; a difference of $41.43 for the year.

Really!!!

$41.43 for the year is a mere $3.45 increase per month.

Are we really arguing over a monthly amount less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Outrageous!

Is public sentiment being exercised to raise opposition for a mere increase of $.115 cents per day….Incredible!

The robocall I received was authorized by taxpayer and resident Jeremy Rodgers. The same Jeremy Rodgers who is the Deputy Mayor of Boca Raton; a lame duck elected official who will leave the Council in 2021 and, therefore, is immune from the political backlash of misleading the public.

A poll on Facebook Rodgers posted in July about the question of a tax increase, worded similarly, but here it’s 30% and the District is accurately identified.

As an elected official, Mr. Rodgers has an obligation to act in the best interest of the public. He is a member of Boca Raton’s leadership; leadership whom residents have place their trust with the expectation of honesty and integrity.

This is not the case in the matter at hand.

As a member of the City Council, Deputy Mayor Rodgers must retract the misleading statements he placed in the public realm. The other City Council members, three of whom face re-election in March, 2020, have an obligation to insist the Deputy Mayor rescind the false claims.  Silence on misleading the resident is unacceptable!

There are serious issues raised here.

Nothing short of a full retraction and a public apology is acceptable.

Al Zucaro
Publisher of BocaWatch

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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.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for bringing attention to the vote being held TONIGHT (WED) at the Swim & Racquet Center located at 21618 St. Andrews Boulevard, Boca Raton, Florida. I encourage any resident, opposed or in favor, of this tax increase, to come on out.

    I generally make my own coffee, but $MILLIONS of tax-payer dollars can be wasted using your Starbucks analogy. The numbers add up fast!

    We wouldn’t be in this spot if we weren’t still on track for $50 MILLION proposed golf course without an idea of how to pay for it. ($24M Land, $900k Fazio design fee, $25M design and construction, $100K+ Koski commission). There’s at least $20M of taxpayer funds We can’t get the $24M paid to developers for the land back, but we can still responsibly build a GREAT golf course for a lot less than $25M. The city has offered to build a great course (and assist the district with other financing terms) without ANY additional raising of taxes.

    I’m proud to be fighting for best use of taxpayer dollars and against the tax increase. Come out at 6pm tonight, whether you agree with me or not.

  2. Thank you for your comment. However, the City Council and City Administration have been the obstructionist. It is not your individual responsibility or for that matter the City Council collective responsibility, to micromanage the District. Under the financing deal that, to your credit, you voted against, it is the District’s sole responsibility to design and construct the golf course. The City Council is only responsible to review and approve the design. To date, the only objection presented by the City Council concerns funding. Now that the District can finance it without City financing, per the agreement, design approval should not be unreasonably withheld.
    My belief is that the City Council as the obstructionist is why this matter has become so controversial. The District did what it was tasked to do over 2 years ago…design a Championship Golf Course to ‘Keep Golf in Boca’. That was and remains the stated objective agreed upon by the District and the City.
    You, as a resident and an elected official, have the obligation to not mislead the public. Your robocall is misleading. I look forward to tonight’s meeting and to hearing you make these arguments in the public and on the record….
    It only took almost two years for you and the other individual council members to take a position that clearly is undermining the District’s sole responsibility. AZ

  3. Attachment  index.jpg

    A couple of comments – not necessarily related.
    1: Robo calls appear to being targeting voters out west many of whom live in gated communities with private golf courses. Not surprisingly these residents will automatically be against any increase in taxes to finance a golf course they would have no intention of using – especially when that increase is projected to be “20%”. “Lies, damn lies and statistics”
    2: Who came up with the dumb idea of selling the current Boca Muni with a view to replacing it with the s***hole know as Boca Teeca in the first place?

    • Thank you Ian for your comment.
      To the first issue you raise, the robocall received was full of “lies, damn lies and statistics”. Jeremy Rodgers intentionally misleads the public. In fact, in today’s article there is a screen shot of the informal poll Rodgers conducted months ago stating a 30% tax increase. Other comments in social media have stated the tax increase at 15% and the robocall sets it at 20%. No wonder the public is confused…
      To the second issue, Boca Raton’s City Council voted to accept the GL Homes offer to purchase the Boca Muni course. Over the last two election cycles the entire Council voted to “Keep Golf in Boca”. Boca Teeca was designated as the location for a Championship Golf Course to replace Boca Muni. To his credit, Mr. Rodgers voted against the purchase of the land citing excessive cost. Since that vote, he and the rest of the City Council have sat quiet while the District moved through the selection process. Only after the selection process was complete and a price tag attached did the City Council object to the costs….so all the elected officials agreed to the site but now disagree on the cost…Go figure. AZ

  4. On one hand, you state that: “Boca Raton taxes will not rise 20%. In fact, Boca Raton City taxes will not rise at all.” On the other hand, you also declare that: “If approved, the District’s millage rate will rise from the 2019 rate of .9147 mil to a 2020 rate of 1.0528 mil; an increase of 19.4%.”

    Which is it? Just because there is a difference of 0.6% between 20% and 19.4%, it is still an increase.

    The city has designers who have come up with a golf course for much less money. We do not need to spend $28 million to please millionaires. I bet you anything somebody’s pockets will be greased with this exorbidant deal.

  5. Attachment  30percent.png

    Mr Zucaro, months ago, when I conducted the poll, the Beach and Parks District was contemplating a 30%+ raise (see attached article). You should know that. They have since backed it off, but a 20% (19.34% above rollback, 15% increase to the millage) is still very sizable. Every resident and business I’ve talked to has been SHOCKED to find this out. People count on us to govern responsibly and generally aren’t paying attention to

    Mr Zucaro, I did NOT vote to accept the GL Home offer. I voted to reject it. Some people count on you to get the facts right; please try harder.

    re:
    QUOTE ‘only after the selection process was complete and a price tag attached did the City Council object to the costs’

    When should we have objected to the cost? What cost would it take for you to object?

    Last question for any readers who made it this far. Who knew their taxes was substantially going up today if this vote passes? I bet not many. Again, i do thank you for covering the meeting.

    • The City of Boca Raton’s tax millage will not rise. The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District’s millage will rise. Both statements are true. These are two different taxing authority…but thank you for making my point….Deputy Mayor Rodgers’ robocall stated that taxes will rise 20%. He failed to make the distinction leaving the listener with the impression that their entire City tax bill will rise. That is not true.
      The City has a millage rate in the neighborhood of 3.85 mils. A 20% rise there would be substantially greater than the same percentage rise with the District. You can do the math using $300,000.00 as the base number. Mr. Rodgers is entitled to object to a tax increase and to the spending of a tax increase on a golf course. Everyone is entitle to voice their opinion on this but no one, especially an elected official, is entitled to their own misleading facts. Ambiguity in the facts is tantamount to deceiving the public. Hope to see you at the meeting this evening. AZ

    • Give me a break.
      The City has no role in the golf course debate except to review the design and approve it. The District is solely responsible for the design and construction of the golf course.
      To date, the objection made by the City Council is with costs and funding. The District has accommodated the City’s requests; the City’s questionnaires; and, the City’s comments. The District has modified its design to eliminate items the City Council has objected too and has addressed the cost objections raised.
      Now that the District demonstrates financial independence from the micromanagement of the City Council, you, individually, and the City Council, collectively, seem to be raising the stakes; moving the goal posts. The various misstatements and ambiguities within your previous poll, the misstatements in your robocall and the social media comments are tell tale…
      The City Council has facilitated the need for the District to raise its millage. It’s about time that the District step out of the City Council’s interference. You posted the poll and you facilitated the robocall as a resident. As a resident you have the right to your opinion but not your own facts. As an elected official you are out of line to disrespect another taxing district. You do not have the power to micromanage the District. District voters are the ultimate arbitrator as to who is charged with the responsibility with running the District and fulfilling its responsibilities.
      Again, I look forward to this evening and hearing what arguments you will extend to justify this continuing interference with the District’s efforts to achieve the task assigned them…”Keeping Golf in Boca” with a “Championship Golf Course”. AZ

  6. It amazes me that hubris reigns with our elected officials regarding a PUBLIC golf course that is being touted as a Championship course. When I think of championship courses I think of those played by professional golfers with millions of dollars at stake….US Open, Master’s, The Open and the PGA.
    Who would believe that the Parks and Districts can turn Boca Teeca into a major event course? No, more likely a very nice but over priced (cost to design, build, greens fees, maintenance, etc.) open space that a SMALL group of local citizens would use BUT the rest of us have to pay for Ad Infinitum!
    Boca Raton is blessed with many gated communities that offer golf to their residents. However, where once they were exclusive to their members only, these beautiful, well kept course offer summer memberships to those who are full time residents. Why would they do that? Simple….there are not enough golfers to help support the courses on a year round basis.
    Politicians like to say that a new golf course of the caliber they believe will be constructed (no one really knows because it is only an idea so far) will enhance business interest in our community. HOGWASH, Boca is continuing to grow because the location and weather are conducive for families of all ages. Young families are moving here because we offer good schools and safe neighborhoods with many extracurricular activities. We have sport leagues for all ages and for those less inclined there is a thriving arts community.
    What we are in danger of having is overdevelopment without proper infrastructure in place. I’m all for increasing our population BUT not if the movement of people is neglected. We are getting very close to overcrowding on our roads and with limited access to the barrier islands (3 bridges) it is sometimes hit or miss during the commute hours now!
    Can you imagine what it will be like if the golf course, then the University Village (between Spanish River and Yamato) which is supposed to be larger than Mizner Park and add a “Downtown” rail station (east of City Hall and Dixie Hwy beside the library) without improvements to our roadways?
    I can and it’s called GRIDLOCK! It’s time for the public to speak up to our elected officials and tell them what’s important to make for a better living experience in Boca.

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