PALM BEACH GARDEN, Fla. — Several hundred people listened to a city of Palm Beach Garden's plan Thursday night that would add their properties to the town's city limits.
The city is trying to incorporate five geographical areas.
Any potential annexation wouldn't become official unless people within those areas vote to join the city, according to city staff. Each area would have its own vote.
The city, which describes annexation as a "win-win" proposition, said the growth will allow it to lower people's tax rates in Palm Beach Gardens because the tax base would grow. The city also said it will help the city understand the capacity it requires for services, like the size of its police department.
Palm Beach Gardens said it has annexed nine areas over the past five years. It also estimated people's taxes would lower if their home's assessed value is at or lower than $411,250, which it said applies to 70% of the homes in the five areas.
It also said an individual's taxes would increase by around $300 if a home was assessed at $600,000.
Phil Pearigen, who lives in Palm Beach County, said he believes the change would raise his taxes since property values are increasing. He said he doesn't want to deal with the city's code enforcement or believe their services are better than Palm Beach County to increase the city's tax base.
"Everybody is just looking to get something out of us, and I don't think there's going to be anything I need that I don't already have," Pearigen said.
Most of the people, like Doris Souza, didn't like the proposal. She believes the services provided by the county are sufficient. The 93-year-old woman said she was disappointed with the meeting format, which had the city selling itself to people rather than giving information.
Peter Banting, who also lives in Palm Beach County, supports the project because his property in Zone Five is completely enclosed by Palm Beach Gardens. He said he's looking forward to receiving assistance to fix roads, which his neighborhood is currently performing rather than a local government.
"We went out and poured asphalt into the potholes," Banting said. "It was the only way we could get maintenance of any kind."
A vote would determine the outcome, which could come in March 2024.