Bringing Togerher the Polar Regions
of tlhe Water Basin Boards
For the last 18 months or so, there has to destroy the basin boards in a different
been a substantial amount of publicity, liti- fashion, ._..
gation, conversation, and rumors concern- There have been sufficient inflamma- pleted, site selected, plans drawn, and con-
ing the activities of the district governing tory and derogatory remarks from all sides struction completed, we will already be be-
board of Swiftmud and some of the individ- to last a lifetime and I, for one, feel it is time hind in providing proper space for the staff
ual members, some of the basin boards to- for everyone involved to resolve to get on to function properly, efficiently, and in the
gather with some of their members, some with the job at hand. Those who will not or best interest of the district's residents.
legislators as well as other parties and cannot do so should remove themselves I believe that at the present time, we are
groups. from the scene. already two years behind and will be four to
"The end result has been that people have Since the district was organized in 1961 five years behind before we get the present
polarized for the wrong reasons. And a num- as a surface water control district, its mis- projected need of 40,000 odd square feet of
ber, I fear, have lost sight of the district's sion and responsibility has changed dramati- additional space.
mission in life. cally and, with that, certain changes in staff, Now is the time to set aside all political
First off, the governing board made a activities, and funding are inevitable. and personal feelings and et on with the
drastic mistake when it considered doing It matters not how individual board job.
away with basin boards. This, I believe, has members voted on the above issues since
been stated many times in many places. each of us has to share his part of the re- It is time for individual board members,
"A vast number will not accept the fact sponsibility as we would share in any acco- governing and basin alike, to discontinue in-
that the governing board never voted to lades. fluencing staff direction by their personal
abolish the basin boards but, in fact, agreed Several other issues have arisen that and philosophical feelings and let staff di-
to abide by the wishes of the Legislature as have served to further polarize those in- reaction come from the boards) as a whole.
suggested by Rep. Chuck Smith and others evolved. If we do not, we will have created a
on that issue. First, the space-needs study indicated a situation in which the staff will have been
This was resolved by the Legislature in neqd for some 40,000 odd square feet of prevented, by board action, from perform-
the 1985session when it passed a bill that additional space for the district. ing its duties effectively and efficiently.
prohibited the governing board from abol- This report further pointed out that More importantly, we will have failed to do
phing basin o boards without the agree Brooksville was not the center of the dis- the job we agreed to do when we accepted
of the Legislatureement trict. our appointments.
fI the Legislature do not believe that this was earth-shat-
The initial consideration, however, tearing news to anyone. It was my opinion at WILLIAM 0. STUBBS JR.,
created an immediate inflammatory and the time the Adley Report was authorized, Vice Chairman,
distrustful feeling toward some governing ; and still is today, that some board membersGoverning Board,
board members by a large group of people had already decided they wanted to move Southwest Florida Water
which, unfortunately, prevented a reason- the headquarters. Thereprt would give Dade City
able solution of the problems at hand. then r a basis upon which to act
The second issue which arose with the Y hen it was determined to have an eco-
basin boards matter was that of funding nom ic study made, I pointed this out again
projects. and suggested a good bit of taxpayers'
At the time, I was chairman of the audit mor ley could be saved if the board would
and budget committee and had advised the only vote on the district headquarters loca-
board, with committee approval, that after tion.
the 1984-85 budget was adopted, we would personally, feel that the present site
address the manner in which some district .ersonallI feel that the present site
activities were being funded. has served well for some 25 years and can
activities were being funded.-
There was a feeling among the commit- con j:inue to do so indefinitely. .
tee members, staff, and other board mem- do not know all the criteria the consult-
bers that the district should probably fund a ant will consider, but in looking at our fleet
greater portion of the activities than it had insu z rance proposals recently, it appears that
in the past, the premium alone would be increased sub-
We intended at that time to evaluate stai tfdally if the headquarters were to move
where the greatest benefit was and, if it to itlllsborough County (conceivably up-
were the district as opposed to a basin or wa rds to $30,000 annually).
basins, then the district would fund it. 'There are some who are concerned ,
An example would be photogrammetry ab .ut the fact that we do not own title to the
which to the district is primarily utilized in a gr ound in Hernando County. We have a
regulatory mode. Accordingly, photogram- lei \3se that runs to 2064 at $1 per year and
metry would probably have been totally ha ye been assured it can be extended well
funded by district-wide taxes. This would beyond that. We have also been assured that
not, however, have prevented or prohibited I .ay. additional land we might need will be "
a basin board to fund additional photogram- I mltde available at no increase in rent.
metry if it felt so inclined. IAdditionally, it is my understanding,
Unfortunately, because of personalities, thiUre is an agreement that when Hernando I
the funding issue could never be addressed C omty acquires clear title, then title to our
in the rational manner in which it was origi- I eaeied land vests in the district.
nally intended, since people would, or only My overriding concern, however, is that9
wanted, to believe that it was merely a step b b the time all of our studies, etc., are corn-