NEW: Wellington’s budget went up by $21 million. Here’s why.

Wellington’s budget is growing by nearly $21 million. But officials want to make sure residents know where that money is coming from: savings.

The village has been stowing money away for two projects — rebuilding its water and wastewater treatment plants — for about 10 years, Village Manager Paul Schofield said at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

» RELATED: Wellington grinder will clean up debris, but it will be noisy

Those two projects, and the $14.5 million to pay for them, were part of the $110 million budget unanimously approved by the council at that meeting.

Council members also gave final approval to the coming fiscal year’s tax rate of 2.43. Though that is a drop from this year’s rate of 2.44, residents likely will have higher tax bills after Wellington saw a nearly 8 percent increase in property values from last year. That rise would be about $15 for a homesteaded property valued at $307,500 — Wellington’s median home value — or $53 for that same property if it is not homesteaded.

» BACK HOME: Post’s new Wellington reporter returns to her roots

Schofield said while some of the $21 million added to the 2018 budget comes from property taxes, the $14.5 million being added from the Wellington Utility Department’s savings is the largest chunk. Another $3.5 million is Wellington’s slice of the county’s 1 cent sales tax, part of which the village will use for work at Community Park on South Shore Boulevard.

“I think that the number can be eye-popping, but it is really because we have taken previously collected money and put it into one budget at one time,” Vice Mayor John McGovern said.

This year’s budget also includes:

  • Two percent more for the village’s contract with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, including money for two more deputies in Wellington.
  • More than $475,000 to widen the intersection of South Shore Boulevard and Pierson Road.
  • An increase in money for Wellington’s senior transportation program.
  • Funding to expand the parking lot at the Wellington Tennis Center.
  • $300,000 for more multi-use paths and bike lanes, and another $300,000 to expand the village’s neighborhood trails program.
  • $75,000 to replace between one and five neighborhood signs.

Texting while driving

In addition to passing the budget, the council unanimously approved a resolution to encourage the Florida Legislature to pass a law making texting while driving a primary offense. Currently in Florida, texting while driving is a secondary offense, meaning motorists have to be pulled over for another reason – like speeding or reckless driving – before a law enforcement officer can cite them for tapping on their smartphones while behind the wheel.

In passing its resolution, Wellington joins other cities around the state — including Boynton Beach and Boca Raton — in calling for state lawmakers to toughen penalties for drivers who text behind the wheel.

» READ MORE: Wellington to state lawmakers: Pass texting-and-driving ban

Top Cop and Top Firefighter

Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy Sandra Horne was named Wellington’s Top Cop of the Year. Her work with senior citizens in the village put her at the top of a list of several highly qualified candidates, council members said. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue firefighter/paramedic Bradlee Doerzbacher was named Wellington’s Top Firefighter of the Year.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Cerabino: How Donald could Trump weekend’s ‘March for Our Lives’
Cerabino: How Donald could Trump weekend’s ‘March for Our Lives’

Remarks prepared by the White House Press Office to be delivered by President Donald Trump on the Tarmac after landing at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday for a weekend visit. It’s great to be back in Florida. Up north, it was a little stormy … (DON’T TRY REACHING FOR MELANIA’S HAND) … but the weather here...
NEW: Popular ‘escape room’ coming to Boynton Beach
NEW: Popular ‘escape room’ coming to Boynton Beach

By way of an entrepreneurial Boynton Beach resident, an international escape room franchise is opening the first business of its kind in the city. Michael Watts, a realtor and instructional coach for a Boynton charter school, will open Novus Escape Room with his business partner, Aldo Trevino...
Islands near at hand in the Lake Worth Lagoon
Islands near at hand in the Lake Worth Lagoon

It may look like a big clump of sand but evolution takes time. In this case, that sand, shipped from a dredging site a few miles north, will form five islands off the El Cid neighborhood. They’ll be seeded with sea grass, red mangrove saplings and smooth cordgrass, providing habitat for fish and sea birds. There’ll also be a handful of...
Nick’s Tomatoe Pie gets gutted in Jupiter; Bolay restaurant to move in
Nick’s Tomatoe Pie gets gutted in Jupiter; Bolay restaurant to move in

The innards of Nick’s Tomato Pie, the iconic north county eatery on Indiantown Road that closed in August, are being gutted to be replaced by a Bolay restaurant. Bolay, a rapidly expanding fast-casual chain with several locations in Palm Beach County, has signed a lease to open in the spot previously occupied by Nick’s in the Sims...
BREAKING: Accused BallenIsles stabber indicted on murder charges
BREAKING: Accused BallenIsles stabber indicted on murder charges

A grand jury Thursday indicted 17-year-old Corey Johnson on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in the March 12 stabbings that left one boy dead and two other people seriously injured at a home in BallenIsles Country Club. The Jupiter teen has been in a juvenile detention center since the stabbings awaiting...
More Stories