How can I find out how much this will cost me?

The initial assessment amount is on your notice received in the mail and you can find out your cost online at: http://undergrounding.info  The initial assessment amount was calculated using the following assumptions with contingencies:

  • The amount of the initial assessment is based on a total debt issue of $90,000,000 and estimated debt service for 30 years at an estimated interest rate of 4.31%.
  • Assessments are calculated based on an estimated annual debt service of $5,275,000.
  • Administrative and legal fees totaling $100,000 have been added.
  • The assessment has been increased by 2% to include the 2% first year charge imposed for the cost of collections by the Palm Beach County Tax Collector and Property Appraiser. In the second year and every year thereafter the cost drops to approximately 1% for Tax Collector and a small fee for the Property Appraiser.
  • The assessment amount in the notice has been increased by 5% to account for the up to 4% early payment discount allowed by the Palm Beach County Tax Collector and a contingency for uncollectable assessments.

It is highly likely the final assessment amount will decrease from the amount on your notice. 

When will the final assessment numbers be available?  We plan to post the final assessment amounts online in the cost search tool, shortly after adopted on July 12th.

When will the assessments be billed?  They will be billed on your property tax bill which you will receive from the Palm Beach County Tax Collector issued in November 2017.

What is the average cost per property owner? The average annual assessment in the initial assessment resolution for a single family home is $1191 or $3.26 per day. The average annual assessment for condos is $331 or $0.91 per day.

How will this project be financed? In the long-term the project will be financed through general obligation bonds paid by a special assessment to each individual property owner to ensure equity. The assessment method is an equitable form of payment that has been used by other communities that have undergrounded and has been approved by the courts.  In the short term, a financing plan was developed that will use a combination of the revenue from the assessments and Commercial Paper.

How long is the special assessment levied? The assessments will be levied for 30 years from the start of the assessment.

Is a special assessment an equitable way to pay for the undergrounding project? YES. After significant review and consideration by both the Underground Utilities Task Force and Town Council it was determined that the assessment methodology was the fairest approach for apportioning costs associated with this project.

How are the assessments determined?  A methodology has been developed that is based on the special benefit provided to properties within the Town as a result of undergrounding overhead utilities.  The benefits are safety, reliability and aesthetics.

  • The benefits are allocated 30.8% to safety, 38.4% to reliability and 30.8% to aesthetics.
  • The safety factor is based on land use and lot size. Reliability is based on population density factors derived from the 2010 census data and land use. The Aesthetic calculation is based on lot size and land use.
  • If a property has overhead utilities, then they receive the entire weight of the safety reliability and aesthetic benefits based on their land use and lot size.
  • If a property does not have overhead utilities, the assessment is reduced by 1/2 of the safety and aesthetics benefits.

Has the special assessment methodology been approved by the courts? YES.

Are the funds allocated from the special assessment dedicated to the undergrounding project? YES.

If I sell my home, do I need to pay off the assessment? NO. Once you sell your home, the remaining assessment payments will transfer to the new property owner.

If I believe my assessment is incorrect, who do I talk to about this? The Town has an appeals process put in place to deal with any inaccuracies on a case by case basis.  After the final assessments are adopted, you must appeal in writing to the Town Manager based upon provisions of section 90-49 of the Town Code of Ordinances.

When will I hear from someone regarding my appeal? It would depend on the complexity of the issue.

What if I can’t make it to the public hearing, how do I submit a comment? You may send a letter to the Town Council at the Town of Palm Beach, 360 South County Road, Palm Beach, FL  33480.

Will my assessment change over the 30-year period? The amount may change but it cannot exceed the amount in the notice you received unless circumstances cause us to initiate a new notice of assessment.

Can I deduct the assessment from my taxes? Assessments are not deductible from your annual income taxes. However, the IRS allows assessments for local improvements to be used to increase the cost basis of the property, which may reduce the amount of capital gains tax you pay on the sale of your property. (Refer to IRS publications 551, 530 and 17) Please consult with a tax professional to obtain information about your specific property.

When will the project start in my neighborhood?  Project sequencing maps are available online depicting the current schedule which is subject to change.

Can I prepay? Yes, you will have the ability to prepay once the final assessments are adopted on July 12th.  A prepayment letter will be sent to you in (August) and you should prepay by September 15th.  You will have  at least one more opportunity to prepay before long term debt is issued.

What information is on the website? 

  • Master plan                 
  • UUTF meeting agendas and minutes                 
  • The Dashboard                 
  • Project sequencing map                 
  • News releases regarding the project             
  • Facebook link for updates
  • Cost Search Tool