7-AMPq T- i ruI6
Nov. s, / 5
Graham demands an end
to water board feud
By PATRICE FLINCHBAUGH GSv. Bob Graham Swayed by strong opposition to
Tribune Staff Writer ov raam the plan, the governing board
TALLAHASSEE Gov. Bob gave board members amended its proposal by agreeing to
TALLAHASSEE Gov. Bob retain the basin boards in an advi-
Graham lectured and his appoint- until Nov. 14 to settle sory capacity. The local boards
ees, soundly admonished, listened however, would have no direct con-
quietly as he demanded the power their differences. trol over property taxes levied for
struggle end at the Southwest Flor- regional water-use regulation
ida Water Management District. Stung by their loss of influence
In a terse 10-minute address on The conflict resulted in an ex- and dissatisfied with the amended
Monday, Graham said he expected cess $7 million in taxes being coplan, the basin boards filed suit. Cit-
members of the district's basin cess $7 million in taxes being col-
members of the district's basin elected by the agency in 1984. Dis- rus Mutual sided with the basin
boards to settle and voluntarily with- bursement of the funds has yet to be boards, according to spokesman
draw a lawsuit tiled in 1984 by the Ernie Neff, to retain local govern-
basins and Citrus Mutual against the resolved. en oie in water management
agency's parent board in Brooks- Graham said he expected he mets' voice n water management
ville agency to clarify the role of it : -issues.
Graham set a Nov 14 deadline ous boards. He warned tha. ,"We're strong on representative
for settlement the date of thenext basin boards eight be xpnme Neff said "e like
hearing in the court case. membership. And, Graham : the idea o keeping the money close
Anything less than settlement board members can expect o ome ith as much local control
would mean no new terms for board only two terms from now on as possible."
members facing reappointment, he "This relationship can anc Ali As for the governor's move to re-
er ain rea intentbe clarified in a harmonious a solve the dispute, Samson said in an
threatened. Grahamsaidinterview Monday that Graham's n-
The squabble concerns which Graham said.
faction controls the destiny and tax- Following his remarks Monu"on tervention said nothing about his
ing powers of the district. The none of the district officials quet own leadership abilities.
agency is charged by law primarily tioned Graham, and the governor "I think t reflects very positive-
with monitoring the water supply of departed the Cabinet meeting roorr ly," said Samson. "I am chairman of
the region and issuing permits for its swiftly, thus avoiding inquiries frorr the governing board. The basin
i reporters, boards are separate. We did not
"" Bruce Samson,chairmai of tha initiate the litigation."
"in on e who currently is who iservot district governing board and a cand Two basin board members felt
committed to settlement needs to date for mayor of Tampa told differently about the meaning of
reconsider the respect of continu- Graham he agreed with his settle- Graham interceding.
Ing to serve," Graham told the ap- ment plan and that the governing Actions speak for themselves,"
polntees. board would try to.adopt it as an ad- said Gail Parsons, a Northwest Hills-
"This is no time, and Southwest ministrative rule. Proceedings for borough River Basin Board mem-
"Florida is no place, for quibbling the new rule would begin today rnd ber.
he said. Nearly 3 million Floridians Wednesday, he added. E.W. Jean Perchalski, of the
live in the rapidly growing area co- The proposed settlement would Hillsborough River Basin Board,
ered by the district. Water use firmly seat control of budgeting and nodded in agreement. "
reaches 1.5 billion gallons each day, enforcement of water regulations at "It's a shame it had to reach thit
he said. the governing board level, while pre- point," said Perchalski. "The reat
Graham said the average Florid- serving the basin board's say in local thing is we want to help and support
lan is not interested in the legal dis- water projects. local taxpayers from our area. ,-.
putes at the agency and even less in- The flap over water control The two basin board members
terested with the details of whose started in 1984 when the governing said their groups would have to meet
budget funds what activity, board, in an attempt to streamline and discuss the governor's proposal.
"These Floridians are interested, the district, suggested abolishing the They could not guarantee the suit
however, when these disputes result local basin boards and taking away would be dropped. Samson, too, was
in double taxation, in a lack of coor- their budgeting powers. not confident the legal battle would
donation or jeopardize in any way end on the basics of Graham's plan.
the quality of life in the future..."
Gov. Bob Graham told members of the Southwest Florida Water Management District governing
board Monday that he expected them to settle their differences or they may not be reappointed.
"I for one never felt the sub-
stance was between the governing
board and well-meaning basin board
members," Samson said. "The real
substance is outside the district, pri-
marily Florida Citrus Mutual."
Basin board members Perchal-
ski and Parsons did not feel they
were used by Citrus Mutual. "Abso-
lutely not," said Parsons. "That's
Basin boards, whose jurisdiction
was carved to follow the major river
basins in the southwest region, tradi-
tionally have participated in water
control projects that benefit a lim-
ited group. The governing board was
geared toward programs of a more
general nature, recently including
The outcry over changing the
role of basin boards prompted the
lawsuit. The Florida Legislature
tried to resolve the issue during the
1985 session but failed.