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Palm Beach County places affordable housing bond on November's ballot

Critics say bond would only benefit some tax payers
Posted at 10:45 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 22:55:17-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — County leaders tell WPTV there are more than 10,000 housing shortages throughout Palm Beach County and need to build to capacity.

Four out of six Palm Beach County commissioners gave the greenlight for a $200 million housing bond to be put on the November ballot.

Those who voted for it, like county commissioner Mack Benard, say this bond will help alleviate the housing crunch that so many are facing.

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Palm Beach County commissioner Mack Benard voted in favor of the housing bond.

“Got a lot of our seniors that we need to continue to build houses for and then on the family side,” Bernard said,” so I just to make sure, that we have affordable housing for families, so that way our teachers, our firefighters, our, police officers and also students can have quality housing in Palm Beach County.”

Jack Weir is the chairman with the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County.

He says rent has gone up more than 30% in the last 12 months, and housing prices have gone up more than 25%, while mortgage rates have more than doubled and explains his support for the bond.

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Jack Weir, chairman with the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County, supports the bond.

“Only 12% of the households in Palm Beach County could afford a median price home. So, it’s clear that the supply has lagged the demand, both from our natural population growth and from the influx of folks during the pandemic,” Weir said. “So, this housing bond is a step to try to bring that supply- demand ratio back in the balance.”

But two county commissioners, Maria Marino and Melissa McKinlay, voted against it.

“I have some hesitation about asking voters to dig deeper into their pockets right now,” said McKinlay, “given the rising inflation, fuel costs, and increased utility bills that many folks are seeing right now.”

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Palm Beach County commissioner Melissa McKinlay voted against the bond.

McKinlay says more than $100 million dollars in funds the county has received from various sources, including the American Rescue Plan Act, could be spent on finding solutions and identifying projects that could help now.

Mckinlay says how the bond was going to prioritize the housing projects played a factor in her voting no for it.

“I just didn’t think it was fair that people in the Glades, my constituents, would be paying their tax dollars for projects that seem to have a priority along the coast,” she said.

However, commissioner Bernard argues the bond measure would be a boom for all residents in the county.

“What we care about is the residents, and wherever they live we are going to try to create housing for every resident that calls Palm Beach County home,” he said.

Voters in Palm Beach County will have the ultimate say come November.