What’s a broken window worth? In Pahokee, $22,000.

pahokee

City of Pahokee

Palm Beach County’s economic recovery is slowing in reaching Pahokee. So the town along Lake Okeechobee, where unemployment’s been as high as 27 percent and property values rose at a lower rate than any other municipality, doesn’t have money lying around. And for want of that $22,000, it can’t, at least for now, bulldoze a crime magnet.

A 2-story building at 171 Booker Place is owned by a Lake Worth church that had hoped to renovate it as a homeless residence. But that plan fizzled, and the complex “has become a blighted nuisance to the surrounding community, and a haven for illegal activity (drugs being sold, prostitution, drug-use, and other illicit activities),” City Manager Chandler Williamson said Tuesday in an email to County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, whose district includes the Glades.

The Broken Window Theory is in plain sight,” Williamson wrote, referring to a doctrine that says a broken window suggests no one cares and helps lead to blight and crime.

Williamson

Williamson

Williamson said the owners have offered to sign the place over. But there’s $22,000 in back taxes. Williamson asked for a break. No, the county said. Its hands are tied.

“We cannot waive taxes,” Sherry Brown, director of the county’s Office of Financial Management and Budget, said in an email. “If the city takes ownership, they are responsible.”

Williamson couldn’t be reached to learn the city’s next move. 

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