S16-A o ntinel 6tar
,Thursday, April 1, 1976 Or.lndo, Florida
Orange water district Bill
- 'Lost' In Strict Rules Calls
APR 6 1'By JULIE WILSON
SSentinel Star Staff Z .. .
B i:i1 TALLAHASSEE A bill taking :
Orange County out of the Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control Dis-
trict with the possibility of reducing .
county tax bills was held in limbo
Wednesday after some slick *: :
The skirmish sets up what may be .". .: .-,
one of the legislature' s hottest. .
environmental fights, p i t t i n g key '
environmental lobbyists against the .
chairman of the House Natural Reso- ... :
urces Committee, Rep. William Ful- .... .
ford, D-Orlando. :::
... .. : : ..: -
THE ORANGE COUNTY provi- ::. :..
sion is in a lengthy house bill that sets.
ad valorem tax limits for the state's
five water management districts. .. .
The bill is the enabling legisla- ,
tion for a constitutional amendment..
approved by Florida voters three
weeks ago, but it also changes the WILLIAM FULFORD
boundaries of those districts. ... District change favored
"Orange County is in a water
management district that takes $800,- Two witnesses testified about the
000 a year from our taxpayers but Collier and Lee counties changes
doesn't do one thing for us," Fulford before Fulford announced the com-
said. mittee was running out of time.
FULFORD PROPOSES TO put the REP. ELAINE BLOOM, D-North
county in the new St. Johns water Miami Beach, made a motion to take
management district. That district the boundary question out of the
would have a .15-mill tax limit under funding bill "so we can address these
the bill, while the southern Florida very crucial issues."
district has a current .375-mill levy. Rep. Sam Bell, D-Daytona Beach,
The bill would also take Collier asked that the committee hear the
County and part of Lee County out of witnesses later in the day, but Fulford
the southern district and put them in looked at his watch and announced the
the Southwest Florida Water Manage- committee's allotted time had ex-
ment District. pired.
On a "gentleman's agreement," "By the rules of the house, we
the bill was passed last week by can't go on," Fulford said. He added
Fulford's committee in order to get it that under other house rules, the
in the lineup for the house calendar. committee cannot take up the bill
But Fulford agreed to allow again without giving two weeks notice.
re c o n s i deration of the bill, and
environmentalist showed up in force LEE WHO returned to the
Wednesday to testify against the hearing, room with his lobbyist card
boundary changes. in his hand just as the meeting was
adjourned had sharp words for
THEY WERE LED by Charles Fulford's actions.
Lee of the Florida Audubon Society. "I think it shows that Chairman
But when Lee stood up ,to address the Fulford clearly does not want the
"committee, he was stopped by Ful- public to be heard on this issue," Lee
ford. said. "He is holding the funding bill
Fulford said Lee had failed to hostage with the boundary changes,
register this year as a lobbyist for the and that could be disastrous."
organization as required by the house. Fulford maintains the current
"I cannot let you address this boundary is not logical because it
committee," Fulford said, sending Lee ignores the fact that ground water in
off to the house clerk's office to Orange County flows east and north-
register, east to dump in the St. Johns River.