Title: Editorial: "Let's Cool This Water Fight, Not Join It."
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00052074/00001
 Material Information
Title: Editorial: "Let's Cool This Water Fight, Not Join It."
Alternate Title: Editorial. "Let's Cool This Water Fight, Not Join It." Tampa Tribune
Physical Description: 1p.
Language: English
Publication Date: Sept. 17, 1984
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
General Note: Box 4, Folder 2 ( SF BASIN BOARD CONCEPT ), Item 98
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00052074
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

\A ______ __
Tr^'lne Editorial 1 to be more and more vital to
t. /ater supply of most of Central
'y iand Southern Florida.
Le s Cool This WV after The Southwest district is by law
given jurisdiction over the Green
F h j oI If Swamp; it now is awaiting a consult-
Fig ht N t Join It ant's study on how best to preserve
S/that area's water recharge function
and how much, if any, more agricul-
H ILLSBOROUGH COUNTY'S To achieve consistency and to tural or other development is teasi-
Commissioners will be asked solve some of its revenue needs ble without threatening that func-
today to join a suit that seeks to re- the board of the Southwest District tion. In the near future, the district
solve a bitter battle between the for a time considered abolishing the will need millions of dollars to regu-
Southwest Florida Water Manage- basin boards outright. This aroused a late the use of, protect and control
ment District and its eight basin great deal of controversy due to the the waters in the Green Swamp -
boards. nature of the action itself, but also far more money than it can raise
The Commission has three good because of charges of subterfuge. under the current quarter of a mill
reasons to reject the request: Basin board members, and some that is its maximum tax levy.
legislators supporting them, argued The district board's position is
1. Its legal staff has its hands full that the district board used as au- that the less money it has the
right now fighting the attempt of the thority for abolishing the basin greater the danger of development
U.S. Department of Justice to invali- boards an act of the 1984 Legislature of the Green Swamp with adverse ef-
date the new county charter. that was sneaked through under the fect on its role as a major water re-
2. Involved in the issue is how deceptive guise of being a simple, charge area.
much taxes the county's taxpayers non-controversial "housekeeping"
will pay; both sides charge the act. Given these circumstances, the
others position will increase the ad lawsuit, however it is resolved, will
other's position will increase the ad Faced with a floodtide of objec- be but a stopgap solution. What is
valorem tax burden for moneys to fi- tions, the district board backed off, nee
nance basin board and district opera- but only partly. It voted instead to Legislature to settle the matter more
tions. Who may tax for what centers convert the basin boards to advisory definitively. Legislators need to de-
on ideas of legislative intent, which tidies, arguing it can do this under fine more sharply the functions of
leads to the third reason, terms of the 1972 Florida Water both the Southwest district and the
3. Florida's tremendous growth in Management Act. basin boards, with a specific eye to-
the past two decades has forced the By the conversion, the District ward growth problems, .a sharp dis
state to address problems of water Board would attain direct control tinction between surface and ground
regulation in ways that have some- over property taxes levied for pur- water, and, if appropriate, a revision
times resulted in conflicting legisla- poses of regulation. Under the pre- of the tax formula. In doing so, the
tion. We suggest that both sides back sent system, the District now can Legislature should keep in mind that
off now and pursue action in the 1985 levy up to 1 mill in each of its 16 the very existence of basin boards is
legislative session to clarify the con- counties, but .75 is reserved for the subject to "Sunset Law" review in
flicts both over legislative intent and basin boards and levied at their 1988. "Review" means outright aboli-
between the statutes. recommendation (none of the eight tion unless the Legislature decides
The principal issue lies in what boards asks for the full amount), and otherwise of basin boards,
powers the basin boards shall con- .25 for district purposes. whether they be operating entities or
tinue to have. The view in Tallahas- advisory panels.
see is that water problems are state- is th con ontha nw We suggest it is also time for the
wide and regional in scope, and that ernando County Circuit Court (dis Legislature to recognize that the
regulation by basin boards in small trict headquarters are outside Green Swamp's impact on water sup-
geographical areas can sometimes Brooksville) and an appellate court plies is not limited to the area of the
result in parochial decisions benefi- Southwest Florida Water Manage-
cial to the basin but detrimental to The key issue is who shall regu- ment District. That impact also ex-
the region or the state as a whole. late wetlands insofar as agricultural tends to the St. Johns and South Flor-
For that reason, there is a concerted use is concerned. The Legislature in ida districts. As the law now stands,
effort to make both policy and struc- passing the wetlands act this year as- taxpayers of the Southwest district
ture within the state's five water signed most responsibility to the are going to be asked for millions of
management districts as consistent State Department of Environmental dollars to protect the Green Swamp
as possible. Resources, but that pertaining to when that protection will also be of
In a sense, river basin boards, agriculture to the five water man- great benefit to Floridians to the
formed primarily to deal with prob- agement districts. The basin boards, north, east and south who are not
lems of surface water, are an anach- which in the Southwest district have taxed for that purpose. Much of the
ronism. While peninsular Florida has always had more power (stemming fiscal pressure on the Southwest dis-
many river basins, basically it has in part from the pre-existence under trict and its basin boards would -
but one source of ground water other names of some of them to the and should be eased by legislation
that beneath the surface the Flor- Southwest district), maintain that sharing the cost of Green Swamp
idan Aquifer (the Biscayne Aquifer is when their tax money is to be used control among all who will benefit
so affected by the Floridan that it for regulation, they should have the from it.
can in many ways be considered an regulatory power. The Legislature is unlikely to be
extension of the latter). Most water The almost hidden agenda in- able to attack either of these prob-
that is used for all purposes in penin- volved, however, is not the future of lems until April 1985. Until that time,
sular Florida is ground, not surface, various bayheads or surface water the best action for those involved in
in origin and a great deal of the catchment areas that one or more the heated fight between the South-
surface water is from spring-fed farmers might want to convert to west district and the eight basin
rivers, agriculture use. It is the future of the boards is to cool it.
Green Swamp, in Polk and Lake
counties, which we increasingly

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs