Title: Letter from Warren Hyten concerning transfer of Upper Basin of the St. Johns River
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00052110/00001
 Material Information
Title: Letter from Warren Hyten concerning transfer of Upper Basin of the St. Johns River
Alternate Title: Letter from Warren Hyten, Chairman South Beaches Executive Council to Harmon Shields enclosing Study concerning the transfer of the Upper Basin of the St. Johns River, authored by Tom Lawton
Physical Description: 12p.
Language: English
Publication Date: Feb. 17, 1975
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00052110
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
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Full Text

22 January meeting no listing of problems previously raised was made, and
no progress reports were made or asked for, No schedule for the resolution
of the tax problem was proposed, requested or even suggested by DNR.

The failure of DNR to examine in detail the problems identified as they
relate to each WMD results in a denial to our Legislative Delegation and
our local officials, as well as concerned citizens, a clear understanding
of the problems, resolution status, and the probable or anticipated im-
pact of actions taken or not taken.

It is now obvious that if the 1 July 1975 transfer date is not success-
fully met, it will be through default, and not through a conscious deci-
sion reached on the basis of facts. This being true, any new date set for
the transfer will be subject to question. If no more initiative and sense
of responsibility is applied to the matter in the future than in the per-
iod to date by DNR, then we can expect the same or other problems to con-
front us as we approach each subsequent date.

The above being the case, we are faced with an uncertain period of time
during which nothing can or will be done in the Upper Basin to resolve
those very problems that the Act was written to resolve. The FCD almost
certainly will not expend its resources in the area, and the WMD cannot,
until some sort of agreement is reached. Both districts currently enjoy
a full quota of problems within their assured territories, and will not
be enclined to apply much effort in an area of questionable future juris-
diction. The FCD is acquiring considerable new territories in the Ever-
glades and the Keys all of which have existing acute problems. And the
St Johns has 12 counties and most of a sick river to occupy it.

Even though Brevardians will continue to pay taxes into the FCD until the
date o" the transfer, we will be effectively denied a voice in the use of
those monies. Governing Board members do not represent the county of their
residence, bit the entire district, While we certainly should not expect
any miracles from the St Johns WMD, we would certainly be in a better
position to demand support from it is we were a legal part of that dis-
trict, than if we are kept as only a potential member.

There appears to be no serious objectors to the eventual transfer of the
Upper Basin. The only apparent issue is the tax problem, and the pros-
pective outcome of the court decisions is favorable to the FCD and SWFWMD
desire to continue to collect taxes. Perhaps FCD and SWFWMD have every
reason to believe this one issue will be resolved to their satisfaction
and the transfer thereafter accomplished. Under such an assumption, we
in Brevard, at least, can expect little or no assistance from the FCD,

With the remarkable degree of flexibility provided by the Act, the possi-
bility exists for agreements between the FCD and WMD Boards which would
permit the FCD to retain certain responsibilities and the tax privilege,
even while the WMD performed certain functions. The Act clearly speaks
the philosophy of the State in dealing with the problems, and if this
philosophy is accepted by the FCD and followed, agreements between the
two Boards can be reached and differences resolved.

If the will exists to support and implement the Act, the issues pertaining
to the Upper St Johns Basin can be accomodated.

The operation of the St Johns Field Station in Melbourne is a problem
within itself, regardless of the date of transfer. The expenditure of


$488,092.00 of our Ad Valorm tax money in one Fisal Year on the Main-
tenance of the 'project' in its present 'holding status' is so flagrant
*a'waste of money as to constitute a clear misuse of public funds.

If the work requirement at the Field Station is reduced to that actually
required to maintain the existing structures in a stand-by status until
a final decision is made concerning project works in the valley, then the
funds needed may well be so small as to constitute no real problem. And
it must be remembered that we are faced with at least two years before
any new work would require any additional funding for operation and

The FCD, with no clear legal authority to do so, was able to produce
$200,000.00 for an interim sheet pile dam in Lake Washington when our
deteriorating drinking water situation combined with a question as to
the advisability of transferring to produce sufficient incentive and
pressure upon the FCD. If need be, perhaps the FCD might just as easily
budget and transfer back to us certain of our own tax monies prior to
1 July to support the Field Station in the minimum manner required by
the contract with the Corps of Engineers.

The argument advanced by the FCD Counsel that permitting the St Johns WMD
to perform regulatory functions in the Upper Basin while the area remained
under FCD jurisdiction could result in lawsuits against FCD caused by the
WMD, appears to be primarily an issue involving the working relationships
between the Governing Boards of the two districts.

While it is difficult to conjure up visions of actions by WMD personnel
which might generate a lawsuit, particularly during a period when no con-
struction would be in progress, the FCD Counsel says it could happen.
Section 373.083 of the Act authorizes the Governing Boards of the Water
Management Districts, among other things, to 'sue and be sued.' It seems
clear that the Act has, by this section, clothed the districts in the full
raiments of the States financial backing. It therefore seems reasonable
that the St Johns WMD can assume full responsibility for the actions of
its personnel while in the Upper Basin. But regardless of all else, it
is our State money the public money that is at stake regardless of
which district is involved. Frankly, few citizens care whether a success-
ful 'litigant is paid from rur left pocket or our right pocket.


1. That the Executive Council reaffirm its full support to the trans-
fer of the Upper Basin from the FCD to the St Johns WMD on 1 July 1975,
as directed by Chapter 373, Florida Statutes.

2, That the Federation of Brevard Homeowner & Related Associations be
provided copies of this Study, and be requested to consider formally
reaffirming their support of the transfer being accomplished on time.

3. That both bodies suggest to the Brevard Legislative Delegation that
the public interest demands they obtain specific information concerning
the issues involved in the transfer, recognize fully the critical import-
ance of this issue to Brevard, and establish a firm and unified position
of support for the scheduled transfer, and agree to support any delay only
after exhausting every means to effect the transfer in whole or in part


through the use of limiting agreements between the two districts.

4. That, if the Delegation, or any individual member thereof, feels
they cannot in good conscience support the transfer, they be provided
an opportunity to explain their position to our members.

5. That we request our Delegation to respond to this Study, with spec-
ial attention to Recommendation 3 above.

6. That if the Executive Council is not satisfied that our Delegation
has exhauad all means to effect the transfer, in whole or in part, we
seek assistance from other sources.

7. That we work closely with o.r County Commissioners to inform them
fully of the unsatisfactory position currently occupied by Brevard Coun-
ty, and to be occupied in the foreseeable future regarding water manage-
ment support unless the transfer is accomplished,

8. That to assist in breaking the present stalemate, our Board of
County Commissioners be asked to support the transfer on 1 July 1975, and
to offer to assist the St Johns WMD in effecting the transfer,

9. That, regardless of the outcome of the transfer, we take immediate
and positive action to halt the misuse of our tax money by or at the St
Johns Field Station, even to the extent of requesting an investigation by
the Grand Jury.

Thomas 0 Lawt
Committee Eihairman, and
Director representing Indialantic


I .

A Federation of South 8revard County Beaches Homeowners Associations,


Warren F Hyten Crpo A N on

: tE E 1
Honorable Harmon Shields, Director h February '75
Department of Natural Resources ,,-j, Ki-
Crown Bldg, 202 Blount St., Tallahassee e '6o -*

Dear Mr Shields:

Enclosed is one copy of a Study concerning the transfer of the Upper
Basin of the St Johns River, authored by Tom Lawton, who spoke to you
the morning of (or the day before) the meeting of 11 February.

The Study clearly sets forth the position and rationale of the Council
concerning the need for the on-time transfer to proceed as being in the
best interests of Brevard County. While not short, the Study does pro-
vide some data concerning the picture from here that you may not have
already. We trust it will be useful to you in pursuing your goal of
getting the transfers accomplished as prescribed by Chapter 373.

You will note that the Study is critical of the DNR effort up to the
date of the Study. We believe it sets forth accurately our impressions
of the reasons for the lack of progress toward successfully making the
transfers. We appreciate that your position is to move ahead and to
make it go and we are most appreciate of that. We trust that you
will view the criticisms of DNR as being not a reflection of your own
attention to the matter, but as a portrayal of the work of one segment
of DNR. It is our understanding that you are now making personal and
strong efforts to rectify the situation. We fully support you in this

Should yo' have any questions concerning the Study, or anything else
dealing with the subject, call me at 773-1593, or call Tom Laweon at
727-1568. We will be pleased to be of any assistance we can.

As a matter of information, the Council represents just over 4000 adult
residents of the beaches outh Brevard. We don't use the figure as
a bludgeon, but simply /o g n at n t- what it is that we say.

Sincerely, /j^ =
/Warren H Yen
Endc: a/s
South Patrick Residents Assocrau n L nated Homeowners Association
Satellite Beach Prperty Owners Association Home Owners to Proteot the Envfronmeit
Indian Harbour Beach Homeowners Association Indialantic Homeaoners Assoolation
Sondpines/S'uart Terrace Homeowners Association Melbourne Beach Homeowners Assoaolton
Sunnyland Beach Property Owners Assocltion


A FederotaM of South Brevard County Beaches Homaowners Assoclations

Warren F HYten A Non-Pr oft
Chairman Corporation
Memo to: Chairman, SBEC 7 February, 1975

Subjects Transfer of the Upper St Johns River Basin from the Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control District to the St Johns River
Water Management District.

The Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes), directs
the transfer of the Upper Basin from the FCD to the St Johns Water Man-
agement District on 1 July, 1975.

During a joint workshop meeting of the FCD and WMD Governing Boards in
Orlando on 9 August, 1974, the FCD presented as a problem the legal ques-
tion involved for the FCD in continuing to levy and collect an Ad Valor-
am tax in the territory the FCD will retain, while the territory trans-
ferred out (which had been paying taxes), would be supported by State
General Apprpriation money, FCD Counsel advised that the question would
be processed through the courts to obtain a Declaratory Judgement, Each
other problem surfaced at this meeting was of such a nature that the two
Boards, working together as directed by the Water Resources Act, could
resolve via any of the internal measures authorized by the Act.

On 22 January, 1975, at a meeting called in Tallahassee by the Department
of Natural Resources, I learned that the FCD has not initiated action
necessary to resolve the above legal question ,,. but is relying upon a
suit brought by Hernando County at the request of the South West Florida
Water Management District.

No date not even a tentative one was identified for the resolution of
the problem ... other than to advise that the matter will need to be re-
solved eventually by the State Supreme Court.

Other than the problem of the Ad Valorem tax question as it relates to the
FCD and SWFWMD, and the requirement to qualify the St Johns WMD as a
'local sponsor,' no major issues were presented which could effect the

No firm case was made for slipping the transfer date neither was there
any effort made to meet the date. It was a most casual handling of a
problem of significant concern to Brevard County.

To provide our membership information for specific action, I have pre-
pared and attach hereto a staff stud and report on the problem as I
understand it. \ /o-"

South Patrick Residents Asocteon Chmn, StJ Study C~mm Uied Homewners AssoodVon
Satellite &eoch Property Owners Associotlon Home Owners to Proteot the Environment
Indien Harbour Beoch Homeowfers Assoclation Indoalatrtc Homeoniers Assookstion
Sondpines/Stuart Terrace Homeowners Assoolation Melbourne Beach Homeowners Association
Sunrn land Beach PrcPerty Owners Association
---- "

Staff Studys 5 February, 1975

Subjects Status of Transfer of Areas Pursuant to Chapter 373,
Florida Statutes (The Water Resources Act of 1972).

To: Board of Directors, South Beaches Executive Council

From: SBEC St Johns Study Committee

Problem Lack of progress toward transferring the Upper St Johns River
Basin from the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District (FCD)
to the St Johns River Water Management District (WMD), as directed by
Chapter 373, Florida Statutes.

Facts Bearing on the Problem:

a. Chapter 373 established five Water Management Districts throughout
Florida, to manage water and related land resources, promote the conser-
vation, development and proper utilization of surface and ground water,*
etc. The districts are to be financially supported by various funding.
sources. The present FCD will become, effective 1 July, 1975, the South-
ern Florida Water Management District (one of the five), with boundaries
considerably different than at present... by losing some counties, while
acquiring others, including the Florida Keys. All five districts are in
being now, and are operating in accordance with the mission assignment of
Chapter 373. On 1 July 1975 there is to be some reallignment of certain
boundaries, to, complete the transition.
b. Certain of the districts have US Corps of Engineer Projects either
in being, partially completed, or in the planning stages. Such Projects
are joint State-Federal efforts, with the State providing approximately
20% of construction costs, and the Federal government supplying the other
80%. Construction is on land purchased or controlled by the State, using
General Appropriations money placed into a special account for this pur-
pose. The works of these projects are operated and maintained with Ad
Valorem tax money levied and collected by the Districts under authority
of the legislative acts which created them. The two Districts concerned
are the FCD, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The FCD
was established by law in 19491 the SWFWMD was created by legislative act
in 1962.
c. Ad Valoram taxes appear to be vital to the above two districts for
the continued operation and maintenance of the Project works now in exis-
tance, and will be vital until an alternate dependable source of funding
is identified Ad Valorem taxes are also a factor in the 'proof of fin-
ancial responsibility' required by the United States in accepting a State
agency or activity as the 'local sponsor' for jointly funded Projects to
be or already built under the direction of the Corps or Engineers.

--- -- -- -

d. The Legislature provided in Chapter 373 that 'the two districts
(FCD and SWFWMD) shall continue to exercise the taxing power authorized
to them in the territories within their respective boundaries.' The
Legislature did not provide for taxing authority for the three new dis-
e. The present Florida Constitution (1968) requires an affirmative
vote in a Referendum by the electors concerned to establish such a tax-
ing authority,
f. On 1 July 1975 the Statute requires and prescribes that the bound-
aries of both the FCD and the SWFWMD be modified and changed to achieve
the final boundaries of the five districts and thereby achieve certain
goals of the Act, e.g. to provide for management of the entire St Johns
River as a single system, the FCD will transfer the Upper Basin of the
river (a part of FCD since 1949) to the St Johns River WMD,
g. The St Johns WMD will thereafter require a dependable source of
funds with which to operate and maintain the Upper Basin Project works
constructed by the Corps of engineers to date, and to qualify as a 'local
sponsor' for the future works envisioned in the Upper Basin and which are
to be jointly funded with State and Federal monies.
h. Present operation and maintenance of the completed, semi-completed
and currently dormant Project works in the Upper Basin is performed by the
St Johns Field Station (an FCD installation located in Melbourne), which
consists of 44 personnel and enjoyed an FY-74/75 budget of $488,000.00,
i. This Field Station was organized, manned and equipped originally
to provide the full operation and maintenance of the entire original
$70 million 'authorized' project when it was fully completed.
j. The FCD and the SWFWMD, scheduled to lose some areas now subject
to Ad Valorem taxation, are concerned that their authority to continue
to collect taxes in the remaining portions of their former territory may
be challenged by taxpayers in court.
k. WMDs having no existing or proposed Projects have no peculiar fund-
ing problems, other than the same fiscal and budgeting problems common to
all state activities in this period of reduced state income forecasts,
tight appropriations predictions, and budget-cutting messages. There seems
to be no restriction to the accomplishment of territory transfers to these
districts on the scheduled date,
1. St St Johns WMD requires no Ad Valoram monies to perform its full
function and mission assigned by the Water Resources Act.
m. Both the FCD and the WMD agree on the correctness of the present
concept for the Upland Reservoir system recommended by both the FCD and
the Fish and Game Commission, and both agree that completion of the Up-
land system is desirable.
n. The official position of the WMD, publicly announced, is that work
on the agreed-to Upland system to modify and complete it should proceed
immedaitely, while the Corps simultaneously studies the proposed high-
level dam in Lake Washington and the proposed Blue Cypress Reservoir to
identify the factors to be used in reaching an educated decision as to the
works to be constructed in the valley.
o. The FCD has not requested the Corps to proceed with the Upland work
nor to study the valley proposals, and will not take action to request
the Corps to do anything concerning the Project unless a high-level dam
and the Blue Cypress Reservoir are agreed to by all concerned, as the
valley portion of the Project.


Responsibility Recognizing the 'waters in the state are among its basic
resources' and that 'such waters have not heretofore been conserved or fully
controlled so as to realize their full beneficial use,' the Legislature, by
the Water Resources Act, established five Water Management Districts, and
vested in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 'the power and responsi-
bility to accomplish the conservation, protection, management and control of
the waters of the state,' and 'with sufficient flexibility and discretion to
accomplish these ends through delegation of appropriate powers to the var-
ious Districts,'

DNR was directed by the Act to recommend to the Legislature in both the 1973
and 1974 regular sessions 'changes to the boundaries and transfers of funds,
appropriations, personnel, property, or equipment between or among existing
districts and districts created by the Act,' and 'any matters effecting such

The Legislature took special pains to direct that during the formative period
1 July 1973 to 1 July 19751
'a, The DNR and the previously existing districts shall assist the newly
created districts to become operational.
b. The DNR shall encourage and coordinate where appropriate the use of
interagency agreements covering the duties, responsibilities, assets,
and liabilities of the districts and their respective basins relating
to territories to be transferred from one district to another.
c. The DNR shall assist in obtaining modification of existing obligations,
duties and responsibilities, regardless of how incurred, of the re-
spective districts which are needed to insure orderly transfer of
territory from one district to another.'

It is obvious that DNR has not and is not providing the leadership and direc-
tion that is required by the Act. For examples at the first joint meeting of
the FCD and St Johns WMD governing Boards in Orlando on 9 August, 1974, the
FCD Board expressed deep concern over the Ad Valorum tax transfer problem, and
it was mutually agreed that the FCD would proceed with a suit to secure a
Declaratory Judgement from the courts resolving the problem. Yet, during a
22 January 1975 meeting in DNR in Tallahassee, it was learned that the FCD has
never filed such a suit. Rather, it was learned, the SWFWMD has taken the
matter into the courts, and the FCD is still studying whether to join the suit
or not. DNR representatives did not evidence that DNR had been following the
matter closely, much less pushing for resolution, and seemed quite unconcerned
that a delay in satisfactorily resolving the problem might impact on the man-
dated 1 July 1975 transfer of territories.

The response from DNR in discussions of the suit was to ;he effect that the
transfer might have to be delayed. Even during the 22 January 1975 meeting
no effort was directed by DNR toward expediting the action taken by SWFWMD -
nor was any question directed to the present status of the suit.

In this leadership vacuum, the new districts have been left to their own de-
vices to obtain information and assistance from the FCD, SWFWMD and DNR, and
have had little success in keeping abreast of current situations and decisions,
much less influencing the actions to the established districts on questions
and matters o' concern to the new districts. Of equal importance, the people
of primary concern, the taxpayers (at least of the Upper St Johns Basin) are
and have been kept in almost total ignorance, or fed information with no capa-
bility to demand corroborating or supporting data sufficient to make reason-
able and independent judgements. This latter includes not only individuals,

3 _

but groups, organizations, and even elected officials and bodies which recog-
nize a responsibility to the people and properly desire to be fully informed
and to make their own judgements in the light of their responsibilities.

Confusing Issuess From the beginning there has been a constant comparing
of the 800-man FCD, and the three, five, ten or 25-man St Johns WMD, It has
been repeatedly pointed out that the St Johns Field Station (the FCD activity
headquartered in Melbourne), with an FY 1975 budget of $488,092.00, by itself
almost equals the half-million dollar total FY 75 funding of the entire St
Johns WMD,

Yet no effort has been made to define the differences (or even similarities)
in mission between the FCD and WMD, There are critical differences. For in-
stance, the FCD has many major construction works which control and regulate
vital water levels throughout its area. To accomplish these tasks, the FCD
has eight Field Stations includingg the one in Melbourne) with a total FY 75
budget of $5,659,788.00, and employs 30 salary and 454 wage earners. Also the
FCD Pump Station Section employs two salary and 79 wage earners, and has an
FY 75 budget of $2,135,576.00. These two sections of the FCD alone employ
565 people, or 58% of the entire FCD manpower, to cover functions which are
with the sole exception of the St Johns Field Station, wholly and completely
outside the mission and functioning the St Johns WMD,

On the other hand, the FCD employs only 21 inspectors and seven overhead per-
sonnel to accomplish the entire Permitting function in the 18 counties under
FCD jurisdiction... a function which is a common requirement of both the FCD
and the WMD,

It is apparent from the manning structure of the FCD that there exists within
its territory huge pumping stations, many locks, great water holding areas
and the structures, equipment and controls necessary to regulate enormous
quantities of surface waters over a very large area. No plan yet discussed
for any part of the St Johns WMD area has envisioned any structure more com-
plicated than fixed retentior gates to permit waters to overflow a dike at a
certain height, or ga'es which ma be opened or closed. Even the 'authorized'
project -'or the Upper St Johns did not call or such complex strictures as
pumping stations.

As a matter of interest, the S- Johns Field Station in Melbourne was estab-
lished by the FCD to operate and maintain the entire $70 million "authorized
project' and its manning level of 44 employees was approved as adequate
for that task when the entire project was completed and operational. When the
project was halted in 1970, no effort was made by the FCD (nor since then) to
determine the manning required to maintain the partially completed portions
of the project in a simple 'holding' status. Instead, the full complement of
men and equipment has been maintained, and has continuously absorbed tax
dollars. $488,092.00 in FY 1975) to accomplish primarily 'make-work' tasks,
Charges delivered personally to the FCD staff that The workload did not and
could not justify the present manning, that questioned the reasons for mowing
miles and miles of dikes when adjacent fields do not require mowing, that
ought reasoning for weed spraying in water impoundment areas, have all gotten
the same general response..., that the St Johns Field Station is, indeed, a

The actual effort necessary to meet the Corps of Engineers requirements for
maintenance of the existing works in the Upper St Johns is unknown (no one
has required a definitive statement from the Corps), but even the most liber-
al manning standards would wold find it difficult to justify more than one


third of the current manning level. By performing only that work actually
required by the Corps, and by contracting certain appropriate portions of
that work to the local economy, the manning level could be further reduced,
A rough estimate of the cost of the full task required by the Corps would be
$75 100,000 annually, as a liberal estimate.
Funding The Water Resources Act specifically authorized the two then-ex-
isting districts to continue to levy the ad valorum taxes previously author-
ized. Newly created districts, and particularly territories transferred out
oA the then-existing districts and into the new districts, was not authorized
such taxing power unless granted it by the electors residing in the areas.

The two older districts possess extensive Federal-State project structures
and other functions supported by Ad Valorem taxes. They are properly con-
cerned about any action which might jeopardize their authority to continue
to realize this Ad Valorum income. Fearing that the authorization contained
in the Act was in itself insufficient to prevent a taxpayer suit, the SWFWMD
has formally moved to gain a court determination as to their continued auth-
ority to levy taxes in their retained territories.

The governing Boards and staffs of both those districts believe the courts
will rule affirmatively. Inasmuch as the matter may well have to be resolved
by the State Supreme Court, there is no estimate as to when the final ruling
may be made. Neither of these Boards or staffs supports the scheduled transfer
of territories until this matter is resolved. Neither Board has taken cogni-
zance of the possibility of taxpayer suits to halt the collection oi ad valorum
taxes universally in the State except as may be authorized by the electors
concerned via a Referendum.

Local Sponsors: In districts involved with a project funded in part with
Federal monies and accomplished under authority of the Corps of Engineers, a
'local sponsor' must be designated to act with the Corps.

In return for its 80% contribution to the construction of the project, the
Federal government demands that the 'local sponsor' show evidence of financial
responsibility sufficient to operate and maintain the completed project works,
and also obtain the necessary lands easements, rights-of-way, agree to hold
the United Statesharmless from litigation resulting from construction, and
agree to comply withvarious particularly applicable other legislation.

At the 22 January 1975 meeting the Tallahassee, the Corps representative in-
dicated that the ability to levy Ad Valorum taxes is accepted as evidence of
financial responsibility, he did not state that only such authority is accept-
able, nor did he state that other commitments from the State wouldn't be
adequate to satisfy the requirement.

In the final analysis, the decision to accept or reject a 'local sponsor' is
a matter of judgement exercised by the Secretary of the Army, to which deci-
sion the Corps provides recommendations from the Jacksonville District Office
and higher echelons.

Cooperation The final section of Chapter 373 directs that the Act be
construed liberally to accomplish the intent of the Act, and that the proced-
ures outlined be followed and applied with such latitude as shall best meet
the requirements of the Act.

The Act authorizes and encourages agreements between the DNR and other agen-
cies, and the WMDs, and between Districts themselves in order to accomplish


an orderly activation of and transition to the new Districts.
Based on the latitude intentionally provided by the Act, it was suggested
that if the Ad Valorum tax problem could not be resolved prior to 1 July,
and that the problem indeed prevented the transfer of the Upper Basin to
the WMD, then it might be possible to retain the Upper Basin within the
FCD on a temporary basis while, by agreement between the Governing Boards,
permitting the WMD to exercise its 373 responsibilities for regulatory
functions in the area, and the FCD to accomplish the operation and mian-
tenance of the existing structures, to the benefit of Brevard Couzrty. The
Cougnl for .th-e FD objected stating thajsuh entry by the WMD into the
area might ..createproblnsresule tig _FCDbeing sued, and that for that
reason he would object c tq_ such b.an.. arrangement. C6 ounieT ITer state ,that
"LRni opinion such an arrangement co ld not be worked out by the two
Boards due to their differences in philosophy of water management,

Status of the Upper St Johns Projecti Since 1950 (the first.year taxes
were collected by the FCD) the taxpayers of Brevard County have paid some
$6,240,628.00 to the FCD (thru 1973). Accurate figures for Indian River
and Osceola Counties are not available, but there are indications that
more than 1.5 million has been collected from each. During this same per-
iod (1950-73) FCD has spent 3.9 million for 48,000 acres in Brevard, 3.0
million for 62,000 acres in Indian River, and 5.6 million for 45,000 acres
in Osceola. This money does not represent a return of tax dollars to these
counties, inasmuch as the money came exclusively from the special fund set
up by the State for land purchases of this nature. For 1974, the Brevard
Tax Collector report that more than 3/4 million dollars will be collected
for the FCD from Brevardians. Brevard total taxes. $7.0 million.

To date, the Corps of Engineers has expended $19.4 million on the project
works in the Upper Basin, Of this sum, 80% was Federal money, and 20 was
State (not FCD) money. The project work was halted in 1970 when the State
withdrew support based largely on environmental grounds.

On 19 September 1974, the Corps publicly presented, in Melbourne, its re-
commendations for a revised project, which incorporated some changes sug-
gested by the FCD staff and various state agencies.

As a result of the 19 September meeting and meetings between the two Gov-
erning Boards the project problem has resolved itself into a disagreement
over the need for and environmental impact of a high-level dam in Lake
Washington and a permanent dike with structures etc to permanently impound
waters in the Upper Basin, this making Blue Cypress into a great reser-
Both Boards agree to completion of the Upland system where $19.4 million
has already been spent for construction. However, the FCD will not agree
to support a project to complete the Upland system unless the two im-
poundments (Lake Washington and Blue Cypress) are made a part of the pro-
ject. The St Johns WMD has asked for an impact study of these valley
structures while the Upland system is completed.

Therefore, since until the date of transfer, the FCD is the onl&.authority
able to deal with the Corps, nothing has been done to have the Corps go
to work on any part of the project.

Meantime, Brevard taxpayers continue to contribute more and more gener-
ously to the FCD, e.g. 574,000.00 in 1970, 551,000.00 on 1971, 610,000.00


in 1972, 600,000.00 i, 1973, and $756,000.00 in -974.
The Corps representative at the 22 January DNR meeting did agree that at
least some 18 months would be required for the Corps to put together any
project work plans, get them approved, funded, and commence work. There-
fore, it is more than likely that a minimum of two years will elapse be-
fore any further work is completed.

Patently, the Upper St Johns Project is stalled and in limbo for at least
a year and a half, and will remain in its present condition for at least
that long. this means that whatever minimum requirement may be established
by the Corps for the operation and maintenance of the presently existing
works, that requirement when translated into dollars will represent the
total funding required "or the Field Station for at least the next two

Findings and Conclusionss
The Water Resources Act of 1972 is clear in its intent to establish func-
tioning Water Management Districts to secure the fullest and best use of
all waters in the State, and to complete the establishment thereof in
final form by not later than 1 July 1975.

DNR was assigned the responsibility of determining and resolving all prob-
lems effecting the establishment of the districts and the transfers to
put them into final form and was specifically instructed by the Act to
return to the regular sessions of the 1973 and 1974 Legislatures for assis-
tance and direction concerning any and all problems beyond the ability of
the department to resolve.

DNR has clearly failed to meet that responsibility, and has failed to
provide the initiative and aggressive leadership needed to ensure com-
pliance with the Act and with the intent of the Act. DNR has not moved
to identify the problems, nor even moved firmly to secure proper resolu-
tion of such readily apparent problems as the Ad Valorum tax issue.

The attitude of the DNR representative at the 22 January meeting implied
clearly a DNR approach to its responsibility and to the entire transfer
matter which may be characterized as lackadaisical. This attitude also
implied that the DNR response to the approaching transfer date is, or will
be, to ask the Legislature to slip the transfer date by one year... app-
arently to see if the problems do not resolve themselves in that period.
no effort
No attempt has been made/to break the overall tax problem into component
sub-problems for identification. For example: the FCD speaks of a $14
million dollar operation and miantenance requirement dependent upon Ad
Valorgm taxes, even while the FCD budget clearly reflects that at most,
the St Johns requirement is less than a half million dollars and as prev-
iously identified, could be handled satisfactorily for much less. Another
example is the Suwannee River WMD, which has no 'project' and therefore,
no problem with taxes, and is thus ready for the transfer of territories,
altho that may now be delayed for a year, also. Patently, different prob-
lems exist in different areas, yet DNR seems to accept one problem as
fatal to all.

DNR is apparently making no track the progress toward resolution of prob-
lems once they are identified for the department. No management techniques
are visable as being employed ... not even routine progress or status re-
ports to DNR and concerned/interested districts and counties. During the
7 _

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