| Material Information
||Water Districts Get Lukewarm OK
||North America -- United States of America -- Florida
||Water Districts Get Lukewarm OK, By Kathleen Beeman, November 30, 1995
||Box 9, Folder 14 ( SF-WMD REview Commission - 1995-1996 ), Item 5
||Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
Water districts get lukewarm OK
By KATHLEEN BEEMAN
Tribune Staff Writer //-3o-7$
ST. PETERSBURG Florida's five
water management districts are not per-
fect, but they serve a purpose and basical-
ly are well run, a statewide commission
After a year of public hearings, the 21-
member Water Management District Re-
view Commission has decided the state
legislature should leave the districts in-
Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Legislature
formed the panel last fall after residents
and legislators complained the districts are
bloated bureaucracies with arrogant offi-
The commission has voted on all major
proposals and meets for final work ses-
sions today and Friday.
Commission Chairman Phil Lewis, a
former state senator, said testimony
throughout the state showed the districts
People applying for water-use permits
don't realize that complicated laws make
the process tedious, he said. And many of
the problems blamed on the district, like
droughts and floods, are natural phenome-
To alleviate misperceptions, Lewis said,
the commission suggests each district hire
an ombudsman. The commission also
wants the Legislature to pay more atten-
tion to district matters.
Some commission members say that's
State Sens. John McKay, R-Bradenton,
and John Laurent, R-Bartow, are disap-
pointed the commission isn't recommend-
ing more oversight of the districts and
their governor-appointed boards.
Both lawmakers support freezing the
districts' taxes and making any increases
subject to legislative approval.
They also want the state Senate to re-
view the districts' executive directors ev-
ery four years. And they want the Legisla-
ture to set up a nominating committee to
help appoint board members.
McKay and Laurent say they will sup-
port the commission's recommendations
but also pass along their own proposals.