Don’t tell Palm Beach County library people no one uses the library any more.
The county’s library system saw more than 4.6 million visitors on the 2015-2016 budget year, county commissioners heard Tuesday in an update at a workshop.
“I’m happy to report our library system is thriving. Our libraries are being used in record numbers,” Director Doug Crane told commissioners.
But all that love means added pressure on the library system, formed in 1969 with one branch in Tequesta and a bookmobile, Crane said. He said the system needs to grow. It already has a spot in mind around the Canyon Town Center west of Boynton Beach. And, Crane said, it’s looking to expand in central and northern Palm Beach County.
Palm Beach County commissioners have their committee and board assignments for 2017, with the commission’s newest members – Dave Kerner and Mack Bernard – getting spots on the Criminal Justice Commission and the Homeless Advisory Board, respectively.
In addition to serving on the Criminal Justice Commission, Kerner, who succeeded the term-limited Shelley Vana as the District 3 commissioner, will serve on the Public Safety Coordinating Council and the Value Adjustment Board.
Bernard, who defeated Priscilla Taylor to win the District 7 seat, picks up a spot on the CareerSource Palm Beach County committee in addition to the Homeless Advisory Board seat.
The two new commissioners will serve as alternatives on the Metropolitan Planning Organization. Their five colleagues will serve as regular members of the MPO.
District 1’s commissioner, Hal Valeche, will serve on the Artificial Reef and Estuarine Committee. He will be an alternate on the BioScience Land Protection Advisory Board and will serve on the Loxahatchee River Management Coordinating Council, the Northlake Boulevard Task Force and the Pal Mal Water Control District.
District 2’s commissioner, Paulette Burdick, will serve on the Children’s Services Council and the Water Resources Task Force. Burdick has been chosen by her colleagues to serve as county mayor.
Steven Abrams, who represents District 4, will serve on the Kravis Center board, the Multi-Jurisdictional Issues Coordination Forum Executive Committee, the Palm Beach Broadband board, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority and the Value Adjustment Board, where he will be chairman.
District 5’s commissioner, Mary Lou Berger, will serve on the BioScience Land Protection Advisory Board, the Palm Beach County Cultural Council and the Water Resources Task Force.
In District 6, Melissa McKinlay will serve on the Business Development Executive Board and the County Coalition for Responsible Management of Lake ‘O.’
Valeche, Burdick and Kerner will serve as regular members of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, with Abrams, McKinlay and Bernard serving as alternates.
Commissioners declare which boards and committees they want to serve on, with the mayor making the final decision on assignments.
“I’m a firm believer in, where possible, having a commissioner serving on each of these committee during their term in office,” Burdick said.
The county mayor said she also was mindful of commissioner expertise and interest such as Abrams’ extensive knowledge of transportation issues.
Because the tax rate that property owners pay to help repay the county government’s bond debt is shrinking from 15 cents per $1,000 taxable value in 2016 to 13 cents per $1,000 in 2017, the combined county tax rate would be $4.91 per $1,000, 2 cents less than this year’s rate.
At the proposed combined rate, the owner of a $250,000 house with a homestead exemption who paid about $986 in county property taxes in 2015-2016 would see the value of his home increase to $251,750 and pay about $991 in property taxes in 2016-2017. The increase in home value is based on the 0.7 percent maximum increase allowed for homesteaded homes this year under Florida’s Save our Homes constitutional amendment.
That tax figure does not include municipal taxes or taxes levied by other entities such as the School Board and South Florida Water Management District.
Palm Beach County Commission Hearing for 2016-2017 Budget