JAMES H KIMBROUGH
State Brnando April 15, 1986
S tate Bank
Post Office Box 156
Brooksville, Rorida 33512
Phone (904) 796- 55151
Re: Southwest Florida Water
Ladies and Gentlemen:
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED NCW! (See Tampa Tribune Article of April
15, 1985 enclosed)
Right now scme of the most important legislation affecting the
16 counties that comprise the Southwest Florida Water Management
District is soon to be debated in the House and Senate in Tall-
ahassee. Mr. Bruce Samson, Southwest Florida Water Management
District Chairman and from Tampa, is leading the effort to
abolish and/or restructure the Basin Boards throughout the Dis-
trict in a way that would result in a substantial dilution of
the Basin Boards input and management of taxes raised from with-
in the subject Basin Boards.
He further has led in the employment of a Consulting Firm at the
taxpayers expense of saoe $50,000.00 to develop a consultant re-
port that would indicate that the citizens of the 16 county dis-
trict could be better served by the Headquarters of the District
being located in Hillsborough County a further action on
his part to overlook the millions of dollars which have been in-
vested over 24 years by the taxpayers of the 16 counties in the
construction of the present Headquarters facilities. He further
has led in the employment of a Legislative Lobbyist Mr. Ralph
Haben, at a fee of $40,000.00 a year paid for by the taxpayers,
to lobby the Legislators in support of his personal objectives
for the District.
It was my pleasure to serve as a Governing Board member for 4
years, 1980-1984. For the last 24 years the Basin Boards have
been a very integral part of the successful operation of this
Water Management District. We need to retain their presence
for many reasons, and we further believe that it is not in the
taxpayers interest, nor the citizens of this 16 county area to
have the Headquarters Offices moved to a county that is one of
two counties which has the greatest population of the District .
and the least amount of water.
Chairman Samson wants those who have no water to govern those
who have water! Weakening the Basin Boards and moving the
Headquarters to Tampa will help him accomplish this. Water -
the preservation and management of it is an absolute must
for the future of all 16 counties.
If you concur with me, PLEASE contact your State Representative/s
and State Senator/s IMEDIATELY and request their support of the
Legislation being presented by Representative Charles R. "Chuck"
Smith that deals with the subject at hand. Most all of your
Legislators are very familiar with Representative Smith's Bill
as it was explained to them in detail at a dinner meeting on
YOUR LEGISLATORS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU ON THIS SUBJECT NOW!
James H. Kimbrough
cc: All County Ccmnissioners -
low E TAPI.PA TFP IEE
Monday, April 15, 1985
Dispute over water
allocation heats up
The debate concerns efforts to centralize
controls with the Southwest Florida Water
Management District governing board.
By PATRICE FLINCHBAUGH of the Soutrwest Flor:Ca ''a.:er Man-
Tribune Staff Writer agenent District. his:ctcal:y has
furthered the Legislature s interest
TALLAHASSEE The gloves in a regional approach. :o :arceling
have come off for a fist fight in the water across county lines to wher-
Capitol over who will control water ever it Is needed most. Des-:te occa-
supplies in fast-growing West Central sional skirrm:shes. the concept
Florida worked fair:'. smoothly ,nt' !last
In a debate reminiscent of the year when district leaders consid-
water wars of yore, local offltcals ered abolishing the local water
backed by powerful citrus interests boards.
closer to home. Currently, many of Bob Graham. have warned to draw
the major decisions about regulating control of Flonda's water supply to-
water supplies within a 16county ward the gr.bernatora! appointees
area stretching from Levy to Char- on five regional water management
lotte counties are made by a faceless districts, like the one operaung In
nine-member board in Brooksville.
That panel, the governing board See WATER.Page 2B
SThe Legislature originally re-
W ter served 75 percent of one mill for the
eight basin boards to levy and share.
"* From Page 1 and 25 percent of one mill for the
Brooksville. The idea is to regulate --overning board. The district seeks
such things as new well fields. flood to raise its share from 25 percent to
control and protection of wetlands. 4 perce o one mill, leavi 60
In keeping with that philosophy, 5 boards.
Bruce Samson, chairman of the
Southwest Florida district board. ,. ., ; Haben. reflecting recently on a
dunng the 1984 legislative session. bill filed by Smith to cut Hillsbor-
convinced House leaders to intro- ..ough and Pinellas counties to one
duce a bill. According to several member instead of two each on the
area legislators, the bill was pitched governing board, proclaimed the en-
as a simple housekeeping measure tire situation "the opening salvo of
but enabled Samson's board to cen- 4 ..: the water wars of the 1980s."
tralize authority through abolishing .* If Smith, his basin board and cit-
local water control boards, known as rus supporters succeed, the result
river basin boards. will be a setback for an agency
And so. when the proposal sur- trying to deal with increasing de-
faced at the district last summer to State Rep. Charles R. Smith. mands for clean salt-tree water from
reduce the basin boards to the status residents, agriculture and industry,
of citizen advisory panels and usurp Smith. D-Brooksville. "It's not fair, according to Samson and Haben.
their budgets, the stage was set for not equitable." For his part, Smith is determined
an eventual showdown in the Legis- Traditionally, urban counties to clip the wings of "Chairman 'God'
lature. have had to rely on inland counties Samson," as e referred to the
That time has come. for water supplies. Coastal counties, Tampa investment banker in a re-
The centerpiece of the leglsla- where most people Uve. long ago cent moment of aggravation. "I have
tlon being considered is language saw their overdrawn aquifers ruined a sincere concern that dynastes are
prohibiting anyone other than the by intrusion of salt water. beginning to form" said Smith in an
Legislature from abolishing basin Seeing a hopeless situation in the Interview. "Whoever sits on the
boards. Some versions in the House House, nla terms of their interests, water management district boards
go so far as to limit the term of, and Samson's board has offered a coun- will have a great deal of power in
strip the vote from, the chairman of termeasure in the Senate through te future.
the district governing board. Also, state Sen. Curt Kiser, R-Palm Har- In an interview. Samson respond-
the voice of urban counties on the bor. Former House Speaker Ralph ed, "As long as the dynasties were nl
board would be diluted by changing Haben. now a paid lobbyist for the Hernando County, there was no
membership of the district board. governing board, convinced Kiser to problem." Samson said the board
"The major consuming areas sponsor his version. The Haben bill was chaired by two Hernando
have a disproportionate share of would reduce the existing eight County men for six and I years
members and I don't like that" said basin boards to three and reduce the each "and then they got stuck with
gate Rep. Charles 3i. "Chuck" basins' tax revenue. me.