(b) The second boundary problem is more serious in that it involves the
major part of the Waccasassa River Basin, which is scheduled to be
transferred to the Suwannee District. Hydrologists at the SWFWMD
have determined that approximately 876 square miles, about 72% of
the Waccasassa Basin, by contributing ground water to Rainbow Springs
and Blue Run, constitute a major tributary to the Withlacoochee River.
This information was not available when the boundaries were originally
determined but, as such, it now provides sound basis for an argument
in support of keeping at least this contributing area of the Waccasassa
Basin within SUFWM.D. Doing so would be in keeping with the statute's
intent to base all district boundaries upon the consolidated
Although these are not all the problems associated with the transfers required
by the Water Resources Act of 1972, they are the ones that appear to offer the
most serious barriers to the proper implementation of the intent of the legis-
In Section 373.503-(1), it states "Further it is the finding of the legislature
what water resources programs of particular benefit to limited segments of the
population should be financed by those most directly benefited. To those ends,
this chapter provides for the establishment of permit application fees and a
method of ad valorem taxation to finance the works of the District."
In paragraph (2) of this same section it states that "the authority of the...
existingo Districts) to levy ad valorem taxes... shall not be impaired by this
In Section 373.501, it states that the department may allocate to the Districts
funds appropriated to the department "to defray the costs of the administrative,
regulatory, and other activities of the District." Significantly the term
"defray" was used implying that there was no intention for the legislature to
have to shoulder the full burden of the cost of "administrative, regulatory,
and other activities of the District(s)."
And finally the statute provides for the department to pay for the costs of a
referendum election to authorize taxing authority in new Districts as well as
providing for the contingency that, "if it should appear necessary to procure
funds with which to pay expense of organizing said District before a sufficient
sum can be obtained from the collection of said tax, the board may borrow... and
pledge the proceeds of the tax... for the repayment thereof."
The ability of the existing districts to provide these assurances is based
upon their current authority to levy ad valorem taxes.
Parts of each of the existing districts being transferred to the St. Johns
River Water Management District contain a segment of the respective federal
projects now underway in the existing districts. If the transfer takes place,
the new district, or another appropriate local sponsor, must assume the
responsibility for providing the assurances itemized above and the existing
districts must be released.
By letter dated February 14, 1975 to Colonel Emmett C. Lee, Corps
of Engineers, SWFWMD has requested it be released from the above
stated commitments as they apply to those parts of the Four River
Basins project which are scheduled to be transferred July 1, 1975.
To date there has been no reply but the Corps, at a meeting with
the Department of Natural Resources in Tallahassee indicated that
existing commitments will not be transferred to the SJRWMD until
it has demonstrated sound fiscal responsibility and suggested
that without an ad valorem taxing authority, this would be
difficult. Interagency agreements, however, may be an answer
whereby the commitments of the existing Districts could be main-
tained. The capability of the existing district to do this, how-
ever, would be dependent upon a continuation of its taxing author-
ity within the areas in question. If the transfer takes place
this, of course, would not be the case.
2. Another problem which should be pointed out and which is applicable
only to SWlFW!MD is that Chapter 61-691, Florida Statutes, the District's
enabling act, specifically states that the SWlFWiMD Governing Boa,'d will
have at least one member from the Oklawaha Basin and one from Lake County.
Consequently, the SWFWlMD Board has always had 2 members from the Oklawaha
River Basin. If the transfer takes place, there is no guarantee that
there will be any representative from this area on the St. Johns River
Water Management District Board of Governors. As a point of information
Chapter 61-691 was incorporated into Section 373, Florida Statutes by
3. Also applicable only to SWFWMD are questions about the rationale behind
establishing the boundary of the District as it will be after July 1, 1975.
(a) One of SWFMD's most important hydrologic areas is the Green Swamp.
The District is at this time acquiring approximately 83,000 acres
in preparation for construction of a flood detention area, which
is necessary in conjunction with the Four River Basins project and
the flood protection of the Tampa Bay Area. The boundary of the
District after July 1, 1975 will intersect with a levee, which is
part of tle flood detention area, leaving part of it outside the
District's jurisdictional area and within the St. Johns District.
Correction of this matter would require a minor statutory clIinge.
If the ruling is in favor of the districts, then the largest problem associated
with implementing the Water Resources Act is resolved. If the ruling is against
the District, a delay in the act's implementation is imperative until such time
as referendums can be properly held. If the ruling is against the District
and the transfers take place as now prescribed by law on July 1, 1975, then the
numerous and vitally important flood control regulatory and other water manage-
ment projects either become a burden of the state Legislature or fall into
1. As local sponsors of federally assisted flood control projects, each of
the respective existing districts have entered into binding agreements with
the Corps of Engineers that provide the Corps with a number of assurances
(1) Contributing 17% (in SWFWMD's case) of the sum of the construction
(2) Providing dll lands, easements and rights of way necessary for construc-
tion, as well as preserve outlet waterways needed for proposed works
to permit required discharges without causing significant damages
under present or future conditions of development;
(3) Providing all necessary alterations or replacements of public and
private utilities, facilities, appurtenances, roads, bridges and other
such works except railroad bridges and approaches;
(4) Holding and saving the United States free from damages due to the
(5) Maintain and operate all the works after completion in accordance
with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Army;
(6) Constructing and maintaining at the local sponsor's expense, such
associated works as are necessary to realize the benefits made
available by the work to be provided by the United States.
(Items 1-6 above, SWFWMD Resolution 33).
(7) Be responsible for all costs necessary for relocation of individuals
who are affected by acquisition of their lands, as prescribed by the
Uniform Relocation and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970
(Public Law 91--646), approved January 2, 1971 (SWFWIMD Resolution 447),
(8) In accordance with Corps 221 Agroeeo;nt executed September 26, 1972,
providing further assurance of "continuity of performance through
the remainder of the 'project' and the assurance of availability
of local funds..."
I: S P. 0. BOX 457 BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA 33512
SDERRII .L .McTl ER. c, Cir an, Broeok.ile. THOM, AS VAN d, r VEER, Secretary. Yan ketown S. C. BEXLLY. JR., ULd .
['. RuO 'I-RT -. VAUGHN, V'e Chainnan, brardon JOHN A. ANDER)SON, St. Petersburg JOE F. HILI. Lresburg
J. R. GRAW, Treasurer, Ocaia HERMAN BLEVLLE, Bushnell N. BROOKS JOHNS, iake!and
Donald R. Feaster, Executive Director
Problems related to implementation on July 1, 1975 of the Water
Resources Act of 1972 as it applies to transfers of jurisdictional
territories between Districts.
1. Will the annexation of a basin without ad valorem taxing authority affect
the ad valorem taxing authority of the annexing District?
2. If the basin to be annexed will have to hold a referendum before ad
valorem taxes can be authorized, will the referendum also have to be
held throughout the annexing District?
3. The statute says that a referendum will have to be held in basins being
transferred out of a district if that basin is to continue with the ad
valoremn taxing authority. Will a referendum also have to be held in the
District from which the basin was transferred even if that District had
the authority before the transfer?
The above questions need to be answered before the transfer takes place or the
taxing capacity of the two existing districts will be seriously jeopardized.
S T!-h two existing districts have a combined capacity of raising approximately
- 2O,000,000 in ad valorem taxes to support their operations. Basically, t.he
problem boils dowi- to this:
IT ISN'T "KNOWN AT THIS TIME WHETHER OR NOT THE AD VALOREM TAXING
, AUTHORITY OF THE TWO EXISTING WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS WILL BE
AFFECTED IF PARTS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE TERRITORIES ARE TRANSFERRED
TO 0^IHER DISTRICTS, OR IF NEW AREAS WITHOUT TAXING AUTHORITY, ARE
ANNEXED INTO THE EXISTING DISTRICTS.
, What's the answer?
On January 8, 1975 a "Complaint in action to declare that the
Southwest Florida Water Management District may continue to levy
District and Watershed Basin ad valorem taxes after the boundaries
of the District are changed pursuant to Section 373.069 (3),
Florida Statutes" (copy attached), was filed in the Florida Fifth
Judicial Circuit Court. Since resolution of the question involved
will be based upon interpretation of the Florida Constitution, it
is thle District's intent to carry the matter to the ilorid, Supre.me
Court. Hopefully, this,, judicial declaration will be avi iil le pri or
to the adjournment of the regular 1975 session of the State Legis--