WASHINGTON: Taxes are low, the unemployment rate is 4 percent and wages are up 22 percent over five years, former Boca Raton mayor turned Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams said in his State of the County talk. The retail occupancy rate is almost double last year’s, he said at his annual update at the August meeting of the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations. Other cities are catching on to “Boca’s incentives to bring companies here or grow companies already here,” he mentioned, citing Modernizing Medicine’s announcement it would add 800 more jobs in Boca Raton. “Major projects will come to fruition in six months,” Abrams told residents. He cited the U.S. Customs facility nearing completion at Boca Raton Airport, the new Spanish River Interchange of Interstate 95 and the Brightline high-speed rail line that will pass through Boca. “There’s no Brightline station in Boca, but people can ride Tri-Rail to Miami for $6.90,” he said. Abrams is also chairman of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority that governs Tri- Rail. His term is through June 30, 2018. “The benefit for Boca is that Brightline is putting in quiet zones along the train corridor,” he said, meaning trains won’t blow their horns every time they pass a crossing. Former mayoral candidate Al Zucaro asked him how much of the newly passed one-cent sales tax will go to Boca Raton. It’s a lengthy list and Boca Raton City Council will decide, Abrams told him.
Abrams was introduced by Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie, who noted he has been on the county commission since 2009 and was on Boca Raton City Council from 1989 to 1999. Abrams is term limited and so is Haynie. Haynie has said she would decide in September if she plans to run for Abrams’ seat. School board member Frank Barbieri updated the crowd on plans to rebuild Addison Mizner and Verde Elementary schools among seven in the county. Hopes for a larger campus site for Addison Mizner haven’t materialized, he added. Verde Elementary was an open campus and has been secured for safety, he said. This year’s fourth annual Boca Raton Bowl college football game will be 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at Florida Atlantic University Stadium, executive director Doug Mosley announced. The game matches teams from the Mid-American Conference USA and the American Athletic Conference. The announcement of the teams selected will be the first Sunday in December, he said.