rt E ,RECEHVEDp
OCT 1 2 1979
October 11, 1979
TO: GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERS
FROM: NORMAN P. STOKER, Assistant Executive Director
RE: Transfer of Ridge Area from South Florida Water Management
District to Southwest Florida Water Management District
The purpose of this mmo is to advise of a difference of opinion with the
Highlands County Property Appraiser concerning the 1978 village levied and
of the staff's position concerning further action. In 1978, legislation was
passed transferring portions of Highlands and Polk Counties, from the South
Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), to our District. This occurred
late in the session and the effective date of the transfer was July 1, 1978.
On September 6, 1978, the Governing Board approved a transfer agreement with
the SFWMD, addressing items such as transfer of property interests and the
apportionment of taxes collected in the transferred area.
On the issue of taxes, the agreement provided that taxes collected within the
transferred areas, for tax year July 1, 1978 to December 31, 1978, would be re-
mitted to the SFWMD and then forwarded to this District by the SFWMD. It was
anticipated that the village levied on the property within the transferred area
would be SFWMD's 0.397 mills rather than ours of 0.29 since the land affected
was in the SFWMD at the beginning of the tax year.
The SFWMD resolution levying the taxes set the village for these transferred
areas at 0.397 mills. and Polk County collected taxes within the transferred
area based on SFWMD's village levy. On the other hand, Highlands County placed
the transferred area on the tax roll under the jurisdiction of the SWFWMD and
levied the lower village. This action reduced taxes collected within the trans-
ferred area of Highlands County by an estimated $12,000 to $14,000.
Obviously, Highlands County handled this matter contrary to the agreement
between the Districts and the resolution for levying taxes. However, the
levying of taxes under this circumstance is a legal gray area, and there Is
doubt under the law as to which county acted correctly. After consultation
with the legal staff, we consider it appropriate to let the financial auditors
of the Polk and Highlands County Property Appraisers and Tax Collectors address
the question of proper treatment of tax collection within the transferred areas.
Please call if you have questions or desire additional information.
cc: L. M. 3Blamin -