Water district requests
more taxing authority
By DAVE HANCOCK
Tribune Staff Writer The Tampa Tribune 7-.
BROOKSVILLE An increase
of the Southwest Florida Water
Management District's taxing au-strct requests
thority, possibly at the expense of
local basin boards, is needed be-
cause of the district's mounting du-in th it
More taxing authority
ties, the district's staff recommends I1 e A
in a report to the Legislature.
But any move to reduce basin From Paber from Yankeetown, said redis-
board taxing authority could result From Page lB tributing the taxing authority
in battle lines being drawn between of assessed taxable property value, wouldn't harm the basin boards bei
urban and rural interests in the wa- Redistributing the existing 1-mill cause the boards rarely approach
ter district's 16-county area, say cap could stir controversy, with op- their maximum tax levy.
some basin board members, ponents arguing it would harm the "I don't think that would be det-
The district's general counsel, basin boards by shifting tax money rimental at all," Craig said. "I think
Daniel Fernandez, said the water to a central authority. The district's they (district staff) are right in npti-
board is interested only in exploring nine basin boards supervise flood- fying the Legislature that additional
the idea of getting additional money control and water-management pro- monies are going to be needed"
to carry out increasing duties jects within their boundaries. William Wilcox, a governing
placed on it by the Legislature. The millage issue also has rural board member from Port Charlotte,
"We're really just asking the vs. urban overtones. Proponents of said if the state expected more
Legislature to look" at the proposal the basin boards say that reducing from the water districts the Legisla-
to redistribute taxing authority, he their taxing authority would allow ture would have to decide how to
said. the water management district to provide the needed funding.
The district's expanded duties spend more money on water pro- "Somewhere along the line we
include water-quality monitoring, jects in urban areas# such as Hills- need to address who's going to pay
participation in review of regional borough and Pinellas counties. for it," Wilcox said. "Whether the
and local comprehensive plans, de- Currently, basin boards can levy 60-40 allocation needs to be
velopment and implementation of a a maximum tax of .6 mills, and the changed, I'm not sure."
water-shortage plan, more extensive water district can levy .4 mills. Last The state-created Environmen-
watei-conservation programs and year, the water district's share was tal Efficiency Study Commission
higher enforcement expenses be- increased from .3 mills so the dis- likely will recommend to the Legis-
cause of development, Fernandez trict could implement the Surface lature next year that the nine-mem-
said. Water Improvement and Manage- ber governing boards be given the
But a sharp debate is possible ment Act. authority to establish the millage
next year when lawmakers discuss Further redistribution of the tax- split between the water districts and
how they might find additional ing authority to favor the districts basin boards, said Rep. Peter Rudy
funding for the state's five water over the basin boards would hurt lo- Wallace, D-St. Petersburg.
districts. And some officials say one cal taxpayers, said Pat Pieper, a Wallace said he understood why
proposal could favor urban interests Hillsborough River Basin Board the water management district was
at the expense of rural areas. member from Land O' Lakes. She raising the issue of additional taxing
One method of obtaining more said such a move would enable the authority.
money might be a redistribution of water management district to shift "It's just a fact that 'the in
the current 1 mill maximum tax the tax dollars to specific projects with creased responsibilities are fallin
water district can levy a tax that less local input. creased responsibilities are allirig
is shared with local basin boards, "I'm totally opposed to it," Pie- more heavily on the districts than
Fernandez said. Another option peron the basins," said Wallace, d
would be a change in the state Con- erring board has, the less control member of the study commission.
stitution allowing for an increase in all of the taxpayers have." The study commission is com-
the 1-mill cap, he said. A mill Martha Kjeer, a member of the posed of 15 appointees, with the
equals a tax of $1 for every $1,000 Alafia River Basin Board from Riv- governor, Senate president and-
See WATER, Page 7B erview, said some projects being House speaker appointing five
done by the water district could be members each, Wallace said.
performed by the basin boards, The study commission has found
making a redistribution unneces- that the water districts are better
sary. suited than state agencies such as
"I think tax dollars ought to be the Department of Environmental
spent where they came from," Regulation and the Department of
Kjeer said. Natural Resources to review water-
However, Herbert Craig, a With- related permit applications, Wallace
lacoochee River Basin Board mem- said.
BLAIN & CONE, P. A.
L. M. BUDDY BLAIN 202 MADISON STREET
THOMAS E. CONE, JR. TAMPA, FLORIDA 33602
HALLIE S. EVANS (813) 223-3888
CHARLES G. STEPHENS September 8, 1987 OF COUNSEL
E. CLAYTON YATES
JOHN P CORCORAN, JR.
Environmental Efficiency Study Commission Members
RE: Water Management District Funding
Here is a clipping which appeared in The Tampa Tribune this
morning. I sense that the water management districts are near
panic as a result of our Captiva meeting.
I look forward to further discussions in Jacksonville. I am also
enclosing a copy of an insert from a Northwest Florida Water
Management District publication sometime ago about ad valorem
taxing for water management districts.
Since y yprs,
.. Buddy lain
cc: Laura Allen