$5 million budget shortfall in Boca Raton

City council considers taxes, raising revenue

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Raising taxes may be the budget solution the city of Boca Raton can no longer ignore. City leaders have wrestled with cutbacks to avoid increasing taxes for years.

City Manager Leif Ahnell  says without bumping up the millage rate or setting a fire fee, the city will be in the red $5 million next year. 
 
"Cumulatively we've lost $20-$25 million over the last 4-5 years," says Mayor Susan Whelchel.
 
It may come as a surprised, but longtime residents like Arlene and Bob Owens would rather pay more than cut more. 
 
"I think it's worth it and I live on a fixed income," says Arlene Owens.
 
Most city council members also favor creating a revenue stream at the beach, but adding parking meters and other concession or rentals. Maybe even a restaurant.
 
"There's been lots of talk of a restaurant on the beach, it's something other city's have and we don't," says Mayor Whelchel.
 
"I hope we get decent venues here, something to keep people coming back, it's one of our best assets," says Owens.
 
Adding amenities such as concession stands would help raise money in the long run. But Thursday's go-ahead from several residents to consider raising taxes comes as a relief for city leaders.
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