| Material Information
||Water regulators end feud, walk Graham's tax plank
||Newspaper article by David Ballingrud in St. Petersburg Times "Water regulators end feud, walk Graham's tax 'plank.'
||Ballingrud, David ( Author )
||Nov. 13, 1985
||North America -- United States of America -- Florida
||Box 4, Folder 1 ( SF BASIN BOARD CONCEPT ), Item 26
||Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
Water regulators end feud,
walk Graham's tax 'plank'
,By DAVID BALLINGRUD The issue became a public embarrassment when a
St. Petersburg Times Stafjudge allowed both the governing board and the basin
TAMPA Gov. Bob Graham Tuesday ended an boards to collect the disputed tax resulting in taxpay-
insurrection among his appointed water regulators by ers paying the same tax twice last year. This year's budget
threatening to throw the mutineers overboard, has no such double taxation.
Do it my way or forget about getting reappointed,
Graham told the appointees through intermediary John The basin boards agreed to
Wehle. "This is the governor's program, and he's not end their involvement in
About to let it be dismantled," Wehle said.
The appointees then voted to end a nasty battle over the lawsuit, and both sides
S which arm of the Southwest Florida Water Management agreed on some budget
Z District gets to spend how much of the budget.
S The water district, commonly called Swiftmud, has a ground rules.
: governing board and nine "basin" boards. Generally, the
governing board sets policy for the entire district, regu- That got Graham involved. He summoned all of his
lates water use, and oversees and approves the activities Swiftmud appointees to Tallahassee last week, and told
"f the basin boards. them, "Floridians in your district pay taxes to protect the
SThe Legislature created the district in 1961 for flood quality and quantity of the water ... They are not
control, and the district was made up of nine drainage interested in legal disputes between basin boards and
basins around major rivers and the Green Swamp. But governing boards ... They just want us to get the job
Swiftmud's responsibilities have become broader in the done."
Slast 20 years, and some governing board members and
Others think the basin boards are not relevant to good GRAHAM TOLD the various board members to
water management anymore. find a way to end the suit, or else they wouldn't be
reappointed. They found a way Tuesday. The basin
SBUT THE basin boards have taxing power, too, for boards agreed to end their involvement in the lawsuit,
projects specific to each basin, and that's where the and both sides agreed on some budget ground rules.
trouble began. The rural-urban tensions that prompted the squabble
"When some basin board members thought the govern- won't be so easily dispatched, however.
ing board was attempting to dilute their taxing authority "Someday we'll all laugh about this," said governing
recently, they joined citrus growers and other rural board member Michael Zagorac. "But maybe not soon
interests in a lawsuit challenging the governing board. .."